Mice vs. Rats- Know the Difference

owls for mouse controlThere are three main rodent pests that we have to worry about here in the U.S.: the house mouse, the Norway rat, and the roof rat. Because each type of rodent have different habits, it’s important to know which you’re dealing with if you have an infestation. Read on to learn about each type of rodent and how to best work with your pest control company to deal with them.


Mice are the most commonly seen rodent infestation in the U.S., and are commonly thought to have evolved from rats to take advantage of smaller crevices. Mice are much smaller than rats,  usually weighing no more than half an ounce. They produce tiny pellet-like droppings, often smaller than grains of rice, and are light brown or light gray in color. They move quickly throughout the walls of your home, and can escape through holes as small as a quarter inch — much smaller than you might think compared to their body size!

If you ever find a nest made of soft, shredded materials, that’s the result of a mouse and a sign that they’re already breeding. Mice can have as many 10 litters per year and can begin reproducing at just a month old, so it’s important to call pest control as quickly as possible to take care of the problem once it’s discovered.


Rats are the much larger cousin of mice, and can be divided into two groups: Norway rats and roof rats. Norway rats are shades of brown and black with a shaggy coat and have a more blunt snout. These rats live in burrows that they dig underground, often in yards or under basements. These are the largest rats, growing to weigh an average of 11 ounces.

Roof rats are slightly smaller, weighing in at an average of 7 ounces with sleek gray and black fur. As their name suggests, these rats prefer to stay up high, in roofs, attics, or trees. They have pointier snouts and large, hairless ears.

These two types of rats do not get along at all, and will sometimes fight to the death if they happen to meet. However, because one breed stays underground and the other up high, they can both infest a building at once. If you see a rat in your home, try to take note of its appearance, as the breed of rat that it is will determine how your pest control company will need to handle the infestation.

Proudly serving the greater Chicagoland area in Illinois and southeast Wisconsin, the professional exterminators at Aerex Pest Control understand the habits of different types of pests and use that knowledge when developing a pest control program that is best suited to your home and your particular problem. Our technicians are professional, state certified, licensed applicators. Call today for your free consultation 847-255-8888 or click here for a free quick quote.

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