How To Know If You Have Mice Or Rats Infestations

Mice and Rat

Mice and rats can be the bane of any homeowner. While food and neglect of cleanliness can certainly attract rodents, bad luck can sometimes be a factor, as well. Older and vacant homes are especially vulnerable to rodent infestations, but any home can fall victim under the right conditions. 

Rodent infestations can be dangerous because mice can carry disease and attract other pests in their wake. However, these infestations are also relatively easy to identify. 

How do you know when you have a rat infestation versus a mouse infestation? Keep reading, and we’ll teach you how to tell the difference. 

How Do You Know You Have Mice?

While infestations of mice and rats tend to look similar, you can tell them apart if you know what to look for. In the United States, house mice tend to become a problem in older homes, while the deer mouse is more common in rural and agricultural areas. Keep in mind that a female house mouse can reproduce approximately once every 20 days, so a house mice problem can grow exponentially very quickly.

Mice are small, curious creatures that will explore your entire home if given the chance. You may even see them during the day if you catch one while it’s exploring. Mice eat many things and will find their way into your pantry if they can, chewing through cereal boxes and other groceries in search of food. 

Small droppings — less than one-fourth of an inch in length — are another good indicator that you may have a mouse infestation. Also, mice often shred paper, cardboard, and fabrics to make their nests. However, scratching and scampering noises in your ceilings or walls are some of the biggest indicators. 

How Do You Know You Have Rats?

Many of the hallmarks of a rat infestation are similar to those of a mice problem. Rats will also leave droppings in the areas they frequent, but these droppings usually measure between half an inch and three-quarters of an inch thick. 

Additionally, rats tend to follow the same paths consistently rather than exploring your home as readily as mice do. Because they are larger, rats may make more noticeable noise at night. 

If you’ve seen the signs of rodents but have never encountered one in person, that can be a good indicator that you may have rats. Rats are cautious of people, and you’re extremely unlikely to see one during daylight hours. Rats are also much more common in crowded metropolitan areas, as they tend to gather where people (and food and water) are plentiful. 

Additionally, rats tend to chew holes in walls, whereas mice rarely do so. If you’ve noticed rough holes in the walls of your home, you can take that as a very good indicator that rats might be present. 

How Do Pest Companies Get Rid of Mice?

Mice can live quite comfortably both inside and outside your home, so pest control involves both eradicating the current infestation and preventing them from coming back. Once all of the obvious entry points for mice have been sealed, eradication involves mouse traps, mechanical setups, or bait. 

The methods that your chosen pest company will use depend on what species of mice inhabit your home, as well as other factors, such as the presence of household pets or children. If one method doesn’t work well, the pest control company may move on to a different approach. 

How Do Pest Companies Get Rid of Rats?

Eradication methods for rats are very similar to those of mice but with a few specific differences. Firstly, since rats tend to be very cautious, the pest control process may take longer and be more involved than mouse control.

For example, to catch a rat, a pest control company may need to place unset traps in the rats’ paths until they get used to them, as they may be too wary to explore (and spring) a brand-new baited trap. Rat baits can be very effective against rats, as well, but this technique can cause even more issues, as the rat could die within a wall or in another inconvenient place, requiring invasive removal.


If you’ve seen or heard the warning signs of a rodent infestation in your home, consult a professional pest management company for help. After all, an infestation can come back very quickly if you don’t eradicate the entire colony and take care of all of the rodents’ invasion routes. Call Ortex Termite and Pest Control or visit our website today for a free cost estimate for your rodent infestation. 


Find Your Local Office

Enter your zip code to find your local area office:

Our Locations

Clarksville, TN

Nashville, TN

Huntsville, AL