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All rodents have the common identifying feature of a pair of incisor teeth in the upper jaw. They tend to have short legs and a long tail, but a closer look at their body characteristics and habits shows that there are easily distinguishable features that you can use to identify which pest is invading your property.
The easiest distinguishing feature is the small size of the house mouse at less than 4 inches long. However, a mouse can be confused with a young rat.
Rats have a similar appearance to mice but have distinguishable differences.
Both rats and mice are omnivorous but the Norway rat and house mouse prefer cereals, while roof rats prefer fruit and foods with high moisture content.
Norway rats usually live on the ground or in burrows. They are usually spotted throughout buildings, in sewer systems and outdoors. Their burrowing can cause extensive damage to sewers. The Norway rat tends to walk on the pads of the feet and the surfaces on which it travels show continuous smudges from the oily fur.
Roof rats are mainly restricted to buildings around ports and on ships in temperate countries (hence the name ‘ship rat’). They are agile and good climbers, nesting high up under roofs and low inside buildings. In warmer countries, where they originate, Roof rats will nest in trees, especially in woodland and orchards. Roof rats tend to walk on their toes and leave behind sebum (grease/rub marks) on the surfaces they travel along.
Mice usually live on the ground and nest in burrows, but are agile and can climb. In heavy infestations, grease from the body combined with dirt and urine can build into small pillars. These can remain for a long time, so they may not indicate a current infestation.
Norway rat droppings
Norway rat droppings are wide and are dark brown in colour. They are typically found in a tapered, spindle shape – resembling a large sunflower seed.
Roof rat droppings
Roof rat droppings have pointed rather than blunt ends but look similar to Norway rat droppings in colour occasionally with more of a curved shape.
Mouse droppings are smaller than other rodent droppings, about 1/4 inch long (6 mm). Their droppings are often found scattered randomly during an infestation. Mouse droppings are cylindrical in shape and black in colour, often found near nesting areas.
Mice reach sexual maturity earlier and produce larger litters at a more frequent rate than rats. The newborns of all three rodents are blind, hairless and completely dependent on the mother for feeding and protection.
If you have spotted mice or rats in or around your property, don’t hesitate to contact us today at 1-877-690-2115 to speak to one of our pest control experts.