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The Difference Between Rats and Mice: Why It Matters

Difference Between Rats

Rats and mice do not just look different. They are quite a few other differences between rats and mice. When tackling an infestation, your efforts will deliver the best results if you understand each of these creatures well.

Roof rats prefer nesting and living high up in a building. So, rat traps placed under storage cabinets or on the floor will not work.

Mouse-traps that can catch mice will be ineffective against larger rats.

Knowing about their eating habits, food preferences, nesting style, physical capabilities, etc. will help aid your rodent control initiatives.

In the United States, most rodent problems have to do with the house mouse, the roof rat, and the Norway rat.

Let’s look at some of the most important differences between rats and mice.

Mouse vs. Rat: Behavior

While mice tend to be more ‘curious,’ rats are more likely to be ‘cautious.’ It’s a major behavioral difference between mice and rats.

Rats are usually careful of anything new in their path. Unless they get familiar with a new object, they avoid getting too close to it.

This is the reason why rodent control specialists first place unset traps in rats’ paths. After a while, rats are no longer shy of unset rat traps. This is when rat traps are finally set.

Mice are curious by nature. They tend to investigate anything new in their paths. So in case of a mice infestation, the traps are set right in the travel path of mice.

If a mousetrap doesn’t catch one in a few days, it’s most likely in the wrong place.

Keep in mind that using rat poison for rodent control without the right knowledge is a bad idea. DIY rodent control methods seldom work.

Mouse vs. Rat: Movement

Mice can jump, swim, and climb. They are fast runners.

Mice can jump nearly 13 inches and even climb up vertical surfaces. They can even run along cables, pipes, ropes, and wires.

With some support from their tails, mice can comfortably stand on their hind legs. Tail-support comes handy when they run or move along narrow passages.

Rats are excellent swimmers. So, they can comfortably live in sewers. If they come across damaged drains or toilets, they can easily enter a building and create a nest in a warm environment where food supply is available.

Rats generally stay within 300 feet of the place where they have their nest.

They explore nearby areas, follow regular paths each day, and avoid anything unfamiliar.

So if rats build a nest in your attic, the whole property is likely to be on their radar.

Mouse vs. Rat: Habitats

Roof rats prefer living high up in a building. So, the roof, attic, walls, upper floors, and trees are their favorite nesting places.

Norway rats, on the other hand, generally prefer to live in lower areas of a building. Often, they live in burrows dug along the foundation, fences, and under debris, plants, etc.

Norway rats and roof rats fight each other to death but they can infest different floors of the one building at the same time.

Understanding these simple facts about rats can help you a great deal in overcoming a rat infestation.

Mice prefer to build their nests in hidden places located close to food sources. Mice can shred cardboard boxes, papers, fabrics, polythene, dry leaves, etc. to build their nest.

Once you identify whether you have a rat or a mouse infestation, you can use this knowledge to come up with an effective rodent control plan.

Mouse vs. Rat: Eating Habits and How they Gain Access to A Building

Rats can nibble on near anything. However, they like fresh grain and meat the most.

Rats need around 0.5 ounces of fluid daily.  If they don’t get the required amount of fluid from foods they find, they look for alternative sources of water.

Rats can squeeze through a hole the size of 0.5 inches in diameter. Mice are smaller in size and can slip through a hole or gap about 0.25 inches wide.

Final Words

Besides common misconceptions, it is important to know how rats and mice nest, move around, find food, and live.

Rats and mice don’t just cause serious damages; they pose numerous health risks too!

One female Norway rat can birth up to six litters of around 12 babies per year. These 70+ rats in turn breed within three months.

One female mouse can breed around ten litters of around 5 babies per year. The offspring can breed in as little six weeks!So when you notice the signs of a rodent infestation, call in the rodent control experts right away. Do not wait for an infestation to get more severe because it will!

Categories: Blog

100's of Client Reviews!!

  • Paul K.Los Angeles, CA


    September 4, 2020

    I had a recurrent problem of rats winding up in my attic and had tried a couple of other pest control services over a few years, with the problem always recurring after a short while. I decided to give Rodents Stop a try after reading some of the reviews here on Yelp. They came out and explained how the (essentially temporary) measures I'd taken before would never really keep the rats away for good, due to the scents/pheromones that were remaining in my attic (leading them to keep trying to find ways in).

  • Kian A. Encino, CA


    September 4, 2020

    For months I denied the overwhelming reality-I had a major rat infestation! And all my efforts to quell the populating rodents were in vain. After the rats had chewed into my couch trying to get the food left behind by my kids, that's when I knew the problem was bigger than I could handle by myself. All the rat traps, from mechanical to electronic were no match for nature biggest little beasts. It was like trying to get Miley Cyrus to just go away, it's just not gonna happen.

  • Jay J.Northridge, CA


    September 4, 2020

    If you have a rodent problem, these are the guys to call! The lifetime guarantee is amazing; what better way to eradicate rodents and make sure they stay gone forever. They check the entire perimeter of your home--top to bottom--to ensure it is completely closed off to any future unwanted guests. They will make as many house calls as needed to address customer concerns. Seriously, give these guys a call. You won't regret it!

  • Daviozzz A. Los Angeles, CA


    September 4, 2020

    These guys really know what their doing. I had an ongoing problem for about 6 months, I could not sleep at night, my dog was driving me crazy. They came out and did their famous rodent treatment. No noises for about a month. Thank you guys.

  • Molly H. Los Angeles, CA


    September 4, 2020

    Zeev, Heather, Ivan and the rest of the team are fantastic! We knew there was some rodent activity in our attic, but didn't do anything about it until the nasty critters got into our home and actually chewed a hole in the hard plastic elbow of our dishwasher drain line! We called Rodent Stop, and Zeev came out for an inspection and gave us a quote the very next day. We were relieved to have a plan of attack, and Ivan and his team took over the next morning. They started early, and by mid-afternoon had cleared away all evidence of the rodent activity (including all the scent trails). In addition to getting rid of the existing evidence, the team had patched up all of the access points, and left some traps in all the areas that had shown prior signs of activity to avoid future activity. It has been a week, and we are ecstatic with the results. While we heard some scratching activity the first few days (which was likely coming from outside where Ivan's team had patched some access points), the scratching has now ceased. Zeev came back yesterday, and confirmed that all of the "inside" traps -- i.e., those in enclosed spaces (i.e., our living quarters, the attic and crawlspace) -- remain armed and undisturbed, which indicates to us that the patching did the trick. The only trap that went off is in an outdoor shed that needs overall repair, and can't be made rodent proof at this time. That trap did catch one mouse, which was removed and the trap replaced. Assuming there is no further activity between now and Friday, we'll move forward with the new insulation in the attic, and be done -- all in very short order. Thanks Rodent Stop!!!

  • Sean M. Los Angeles, CA


    September 4, 2020

    Rodents Stop made a lot of promises when they first came out, I thought it was to good to be true but wow, what an amazing service. From the office staff to the employees actually doing work. My problem was on going for about 2 years, I know right, who would deal with something for that long, the truth is that I tried other companies and they really didn't do much. Not to mention they didn't solve my problem. All other companies know how to do is set traps, they don't clean up, they don't seal openings, and they don't spray for disease. Also no one offers a life time guarantee like rodents stop. I like that. I feel like I just moved into a new house. It's been 2 months now and I'm actually getting some sleep at night. No dead rats in traps, no flies, nothing to do with rats or mice what's so ever. Thanks Rodents stop.

  • Rachael S. Bellflower, CA


    September 4, 2020

    I emailed them a couple of times desperate for service. It says they service the Los Angeles area (which should include Bellflower). I'm disabled and live alone with my small dog. I've been fighting mice for 2.5 years but am in desperate need for someone who really knows what they are doing and has a lifetime warranty because my dog and I have become infested with some kind of parasites that the mice brought in. I have several lesions and a huge infection on my back from the parasites. I left them my email and phone number with no response. I can't find another company with their experience, ratings, and guarantee and I'm really desperate for help and really disappointed they haven't contacted me. Again I emailed you last night, and got zero response today. I don't get it. As long as I give you the review you want, you ignore me? But as soon as you don't like my rating, you'll move heaven and earth to talk to me??

  • Paul M. Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, CA


    September 4, 2020

    We're selling our house and we needed to get take care of the mess that rats had done to our attic. Zev came out the next day and gave a fair quote for the job. The Rodents Stop crew came out the day after and took care of cleaning and patching the whole house in a timely manner. They were all very professional and very thorough. Heather on the phone was extremely delightful to deal with also. I highly recommend them!

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