What Rodent is in My House?

When you see evidence of a rodent in your home, often the only thing you can think of is getting rid of it… and fast! Mice and rats are creatures that can contaminate large amounts of food and spread dangerous diseases. Getting rid of them is easier said than done in many cases. One of the keys to effectively eliminating the rodents from your home is to have an idea about what kind of rodent you are dealing with. Common species of rats and mice often live in different areas of the home and will require different tools to get rid of them. Here are some quick ways that you can identify the type of rodent that is invading your home.

The House Mouse


The house mouse (Mus musculus) is one of the most common household pests throughout the world. It has a wide range, and like the name suggests, is often associated with human habitats. The house mouse is small and thin. Its head and body are approximately 1-2 inches long, and the tail usually doubles its length. House mice have large ears, small eyes, and a pointed nose. They are most often gray or brown in color and are much smaller than rats.

House mice like to eat seeds, grains, sweets, and plants and don’t need much water to survive. In homes they like to live in ceiling or wall voids, under appliances, and in storage areas. If you haven’t actually seen the rodent you are dealing with, you can identify it based on its droppings. The house mouse leaves small, rod-shaped droppings that are about ¼ inch long. These dark rods have pointed ends and will be present in areas that the mouse frequents for food or shelter. House mice also gnaw on paper, boxes, and wood and will leave clean holes approximately 1.5 inches in diameter. Sometimes you will be able to see small mouse tracks in dusty areas.

The Black Rat



Black rats (Rattus rattus) are also commonly known as roof rats, ship rats, or white-bellied rats. They originated in SE Asia, but have spread to many parts of the world, though they do not adapt as well to cold temperatures. Black rats are larger than the house mouse when they are full grown, but young rats often get confused for mice. This is because they also have large ears, pointed noses, and are dark gray or black. One way to tell the difference is rats have proportionally larger heads and feet compared to their bodies, and mice have proportionally smaller heads and feet. Adult black rats are typically 7-10 inches long with very long tails that are longer than the combined length of the head and body.

Identification of black rats can be done via their droppings. The excrement is spindle shaped and ½ an inch in size. Spindle shaped means that they are basically cylindrical but taper at each end, forming a point. Black rats climb well and often nest above ground in trees, attics, wall voids, and roofs. They are nocturnal and are most active at dawn and dusk

The Brown Rat

Brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) are often known as Norway rats, sewer rats, or water rats. These rats are more aggressive and much larger than their black counterparts. An adult brown rat can be up to 8 inches long, but the tail is shorter than the combined length of the head and body, unlike the black rat. Brown rats have small ears, small eyes, and blunt noses. Their fur is also coarse and shaggy, while the fur of black rats tends to be smooth. Brown rats vary in color, but are usually brown or gray.

Brown rats are found on every continent but Antartica and cause problems in nearly all areas of human habitation. They normally live in burrows along foundations, under shrubbery or rubbish, in crawl spaces, or basements. In homes, they tend to live in the lower levels, while roof rats more often inhabit the upper levels.

The droppings of brown rats are shiny black and ¼ – ½ inches long. They are described as capsule shaped (like a pill) with rounded, blunt ends. Brown rat holes can be 2 inches in diameter and have rough edges. These rats also like to gnaw on wood and will sometimes leave hind foot tracks (¾”) or tail tracks in dusty or muddy areas. Their runways are smooth and usually quite well-packed.

Rats and mice are unwelcome visitors to be sure, but by knowing how to identify them, you will be able to more quickly get rid of them. Choosing the right size of trap and knowing the areas where they will most likely be will help you in your quest to eliminate them. If need help with Sunshine Coast rodent control, contact Radar Pest Control today. Our professional technicians can perform an inspection, identify the pest, and develop a comprehensive plan to get rid of it.

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