If you’ve been hearing the scurrying of tiny feet in your roof, behind your walls or appliances, it’s not something to ignore.
A rat or mouse infestation is a very real problem and can cause major damage to parts of your home over time. Not only this but its also a health hazard to you and your family.
But how do you determine the type of infestation you have? This blog outlines how to identify a brown mouse from a rat.
It may be difficult to identify a rodent as it scurries past your feet at the speed of light. But there are other ways to tell what type of pest is living in your home.
It’s common knowledge that most rodents look very similar, just with a variation in size and colour. The same goes for their behaviour — they are elusive and thrive in small, dark places.
All rodents have one common identifying feature and that is their incisor teeth found in the upper jaw. They also tend to have short legs, a long tail, and small beady eyes.
So, how can you tell the difference between a rat or brown mouse infestation in your home?
The Key Characteristics of a Rat
As a general rule-of-thumb, rats are worse in every way when it comes to a home infestation. This is because they are far larger, noisier, smellier, cause more damage and bring bacteria and disease into your home.
There are two types of rats that could invade your home: the black and brown rat. The black rat has a slender body, large thin ears, a pointed nose, and a tail that’s longer than both head and body combined.
Black rats usually measure approximately one foot in length, excluding their tail.
The brown rat has a shorter, thicker body, small hairy ears, a blunt nose, and a shorter tail. In short, a brown rat looks very similar to a brown mouse, only a little larger.
How to Identify Rats
Here are a few simple ways to determine whether you have rats in your home:
Rat droppings measure approximately 10-20mm in size, usually shaped like a banana. Rats are more likely to do their business in one common area, so you’ll find a pile of droppings, rather than scattered droppings.
Rats aren’t as inconspicuous when it comes to making holes. They usually measure 25-50mm in diameter or one-two inches. This being said, they are especially talented at gnawing through almost any type of material, including concrete.
Rats are a major pest as they can chew through electrical cables, which can cause power outages and electric fires.
Rats are far noisier than mice due to their size. They also need something to constantly gnaw on in order to wear down their teeth. Rats tend to chirp as a means of communication with each other, too.
4. Eating Habits
Brown rats are lovers of cereals. They tend to cut grain when eating, leaving behind ”chopped” bits of food. They tend to look for food in the same place, which makes baiting them easier.
Black rats, on the other hand, prefer moist fruit. They also tend to eat their food in a grain cutting manor. Black rats do not eat their food at the same location, on consecutive nights. This makes it a little trickier to bait and catch them with moist food.
Rats need water to survive — approximately 40-60ml per day.
5. Rat Behaviour
Rats are cautious by nature. This is due to a natural evolution of neophobia — a fear of objects or changes in their environment. As such, rats are very jumpy and suspicious. This makes them difficult pests to pin down.
Rats are usually pushed into your home because they are looking for a source of food. Usually, they prefer to nest and breed in empty buildings and drains.
The Key Characteristics of a Brown Mouse
A brown house mouse may look like a cute little critter, but they are indeed a pest. They have a brown-grey fur coat that covers the length of their tails as well. This characteristic makes them the most distinctive out of all mice species in the UK.
Basically, they almost look hairless. They are also much thicker and scalier than other species of mice. They have black, beady eyes, large ears, a long, pointed nose, and small feet.
How to Identify Brown Mice
When living outdoors, a brown mouse can survive for up to a year at a time. But living indoors, they can survive for three years or more. Here’s how to spot them in your home:
Mouse droppings are very small, measuring 1-2mm in size, usually shaped with pointed ends. Mice generally leave behind 80 droppings per day in a scattered fashion as they eat and move about.
Mice need very little to be able to burrow and squeeze their bodies into tiny places. Generally, all they need is a hole the size of a ball-point pen in order to burrow and move around.
In comparison to rats, mice can move around your home virtually undetected due to their small size and tiny feet. This makes their nest or infestation area very difficult to track or pin down. However, their communication is a little more distinctive, characterized by high-pitched squeaks.
4. Eating Habits
The key difference between rats and mice is that mice need very little if any, water to survive — generally 3ml of water per day. Mice tend to eat cereals, chewing in a kibbled fashion, leaving behind the outer husk of food. They tend to look for food in the same place, making them far easier to trap.
5. Mice Behaviour
Mice are far more curious than rats and will venture out into new territory — albeit cautiously. They prefer warm, cosy, dark spaces and build their nests in burrows.
Looking for Pest Control Experts?
If you think you have a brown mouse infestation in your home or workplace, CCS Environmental is your London-based go-to.
We specialise in rodent infestation, bed bug, wasp, cockroach, birds, and ant pest control. If you suspect you could have a problem on your hands, take a look at our pricing for more.
We guarantee a pest control specialist will visit your premises within 24 hours!