While some people choose to keep mice or rats as pets, they remain unwanted visitors in homes throughout the country. Both of these animals chew electrical wiring, drywall, insulation, and piping in addition to carrying a variety of diseases, making it important to rid your home of them as quickly as possible. Understanding the differences between the rodents helps tremendously with pest control, as what traps mice will not necessarily work on rats.
How to Tell if You Have Mice or Rats
The next time you see a rodent in your home, try to get a good look. Mice have triangular noses and thin, slightly hairy tails. They are typically gray or brown in color and grow no more than 7 ½ inches. Rat tails are thick and hairless, while their noses are rounded. Adult rats grow up to 18 inches, tail included, and are brown, gray, or black in color.
Rats are capable swimmers who can enter homes through toilets and broken drains. They are mainly nocturnal creatures who climb to obtain food or find shelter and use the same pathways every day. Mice also swim as well as jump and climb; the smaller rodents perform most of their activities at night but may be seen during the day if they need food. Both species can stand on their hind legs.
3. Nesting Habits
Mice favor shredded paper, string, food wrappers, and soft materials such as pillow stuffing to build nests in warm areas of your home near food and water sources. This is why you may find a nest in a kitchen pantry or behind a stove. In the wild, mice burrow in forests and grasslands. The Norway rat lives in holes under buildings and gardens, including those under thick brush and shrubs, while roof rats create nests in trees, attics, and walls. They also like soft nesting materials including cloth and hair.
Rats are cautious by nature and typically avoid anything they are unsure about until they know it is safe. They are harder catch than mice, whose natural curiosity makes setting traps easy. Pest control experts typically use unset rat traps first for familiarity purposes before ensnaring the rodents with set traps.
5. Activity Signs
Mice leave behind rod-shaped droppings in addition to gnaw marks and tracks. The rodents’ tracks may feature claw marks — both mice and rats have four toes on their front paws and five on their back paws. Rats also create gnaw marks and tracks, as well as holes. Their droppings are about twice the size of mice pellets.
If you suspect a mice or rat infestation, call the friendly, licensed exterminators at Tabor Pest Control immediately. The Dothan, AL-based pest control company provides a wide spectrum of services to keep area homes and commercial buildings healthy. Call (334) 793-7471 to schedule service today or visit the website to learn more about what the exterminators will do for you.