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Rat vs Mouse in the UK? How to tell the difference?

Mice vs. Rats UK – How to tell the difference? Posted by: Laura Winstanley

Differences between mice and rats may seem obvious to many, but some of the differences may be more subtle than you think. Of course they both fall into the rodent family and both can cause extensive damage if they get into your home.

Now if you have a rodent issue in your home, would you be able to determine which one you have? Depending on which one you may have in your home makes a huge difference when it comes to treating them. How Can You Tell a Mouse from a Rat? If you manage to see the rodent for a reasonable amount of time, it may be possible to identify it correctly on sight alone. However, when you’re in your happily going about your business in the home and all of a sudden see something moving, the shock will usually cause your ability to identify a rat or mouse incorrectly. Quite often people think what they saw was a lot larger than it actually was! This could leave you wondering “was that a mouse” or “was that a rat.” Mouse vs. Rat – Size Matters The typical Field Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) is anywhere from 9-12 cm in length (head and body), as opposed to the common, and much larger, Brown Rat which measures 15-17 cm in length(head and body). Even a startled untrained individual would find the difference quite obvious if you saw an adult brown rat in your home, however this is quite rare!

It's much more common to see a juvenile brown rat or an adult field mouse, this can even be difficult for a trained professional if they only get a quick glimpse of the rodent.

Rat Vs Mouse Uk

Mouse vs. Rat – It’s all in the Appearance Mouse vs. Rat comparison chart Photo Credit: A-Z Animals Although mice and rats are similar, there are a few differences that would help you distinguish between the two. Starting with the feet of both mice and rats, the rear feet are one of the best indicators as mice have very thin wiry feet similar to a small bird, whereas rats have much larger, thicker, meatier rear feet than a mouse. Mice also tend to have long, thin tails with hair but rat tails will usually be thick, hairless and scaly.

The colour is also a good indicator as field mice are usually a very light harvest brown and their under belly is always white. Rats vary in colour quite a lot but rats are generally much darker brown / grey and their fur is the same colour all over. The image below shows the field mouse and its very obvious white underbelly.

Field Mouse UK

Rat Behaviour vs. Mouse Behaviour – Is there a Difference? Even though they are smaller in size, mice tend to be a bit more inquisitive than rats. Mice are curious and will explore new objects and places, this is one of the mouse's weaknesses! They will often gain entry into a property and go exploring, this is why mice are much more commonly spotted scampering around the home, it also means they aren't scared of traps which makes them somewhat easier to catch.

Rats on the other hand are much more wary and cautious! It will take more than a baited trap to trick a rat though. Rats typically live in fear, so they are very cautious about new things and won’t explore new areas like mice. Rats have Neophobia which is a fear of new objects and new food sources. This is what makes rats so difficult to control.

Mice vs. Rats – Who Causes More Damage? The fact is if you have either one of these rodents in your home, the damage can be significant and it is imperative that you have a professional come in and address the situation. Both rats and mice can gnaw on various pipes and wires in your home, which can lead to water leaks and fire hazards. Mice have weaker teeth than rats, which means that any food source that is properly stored in glass or metal can prevent the mice from accessing it, but that may not be the case with rats. Rats are much stronger than mice and have been known to gnaw through various building materials, including aluminum, wood, glass, sheet metal, and even brick. Rats being much larger than mice do leave a lot more mess behind after an infestation, loft insulation is often dripping wet with rat urine and covered in droppings, the smell can be unbearable! Can Rodents Cause Health Problems? Both rats and mice can and do spread many diseases and bacteria, mice are incontenant so leave trails of urine and droppings everywhere they go, and as mice are so inquisitive they often walk all over the work surfaces and floors of the property where you're more likely to come into contact with the contaminated surface.

Rats however usually enter properties from sewer faults, which means their fur is covered in human waste and sewer water! Rats are that dirty they leave smear marks on heavily used runs which will contain many harmful pathogens and bacteria. How Can DKG Pest Control Help with Mice and Rat infestation? At DKG Pest Control we know stressful it is having a rodent issue in your home, we have been helping clients resolve rodent issues in a professional manner since 2008. Both Dean and Robin have extensive knowledge of building construction and drainage and before moving into the pest control industry in 2008 (due to the recession) Dean and Robin both worked for a family members construction company. This knowledge really comes into its own and stands us apart from our competitors in identifying rodent ingress points and how they navigate the internal void areas of the property.

  1. Initial Survey

  2. Mouse Trapping & Proofing

  3. Rat Infestation Resolution

  4. Drain Surveying and Reports (Rats)

  5. Drain Valve Installation (Rats)

  6. Loft Insulation Removal (Rats & Mice)

  7. Disinfecting the home and loft with thermal fogging machines (Rats & Mice)

1: Initial Survey All of our rodent treatments start with a site survey, during a site survey we will try to identify what pest is active in your home, this is usually done by trying to identify droppings, runs, burrows, smell or cameras. We will try to identify any ingress points and set up a treatment. 2: Mouse Trapping & Proofing Field mice aren't on any rodenticide product label so the only treatment possible is to trap the mice and proof ingress points. This also removes any risk of a mouse dying in an inaccessible void and causing a terrible smell.

3: Rat Infestation Resolution Rat infestations vary massively from home to home, some are only minor infestations of just one or two rats, some rat infestations especially sewer related infestations can be very large infestations. Our minimum course of action is a three visit rodent treatment.

For more information on our services click the links below.

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