You’re on the couch. It’s been dark outside already for 4 hours and it’s only 9pm. You’re binging 90 Day Fiancé and all of a sudden you hear something in the kitchen. The cat is sleeping in the window so it’s not him. You flip on the lights to see something scurry out of the corner of your eye and disappear under the stove. The evidence left behind is a chocolate bar (you had every intention of devouring that in the next half hour) and it has been gnawed on right through the wrapper. What do you do?

mouse in kitchen

How to tell if you have a rat or mouse in the house

There are several things that will indicate the presence of rodents. Regularly inspecting your living spaces for these signs can help you identify and address a potential mouse problem early on. And if YOU don’t want to do it, guess what, our experts will do it for you. As part of our Healthy Home Maintenance Program, mice and rats are covered. If you have any of these signs at any point while you’re on this program, reach out and we’ll be on it ASAP.

Signs of mice

One of the most common signs of mice in the house is droppings. Typically scattered along baseboards, in cupboards, in drawers, or near food sources, mouse poop contaminates whatever it comes into contact with. Keep this in mind when preparing food or grabbing silverware out of a drawer that has had activity.

mouse on kitchen floor

Gnawed or chewed packaging, wires, and furniture are also telltale signs of a mouse infestation. Have you seen the teeth on these things?! They constantly chew. It’s in their nature. That combined with their impeccable sense of smell get them through all kinds of packaging barriers.

Unexplained scratching or rustling sounds, especially at night, may suggest the presence of these nocturnal rodents.

scientific illustration of rat

Mice make their nests out of shredded materials like paper or fabric. It’s super common to find nesting materials in secluded corners or hidden spaces where human activity is not so common.

Keep an eye out for smudges or greasy marks along walls, as mice tend to leave these marks as they navigate through tight spaces.

Finally, if you notice a strong, musky odor in specific areas of your home, it could be an indication of mouse activity.

Is it bad to have mice in the house?

There are a number of reasons why living with mice in the house is dangerous to your health. Rodents and their parasites spread over 35 illnesses and diseases. I’m sure you recognize two in particular: Salmonella and E. coli.

Not to make you cringe, but rodents don’t hold their bladders very well. (That’s a nice way of saying they leave a trail of pee basically everywhere they crawl.) One mouse can excrete up to 3,000 microliter drops of urine in one 24-hour period. And there’s never just one mouse. If you see one, there are at least 5 more where you cannot see them.

If you’ve ever gotten sick at a restaurant, perhaps it was because of rodents contaminating food prep surfaces. Protecting our food sources and food industry is just one of many industries our experts help keep protected from pest threats all year long.

How do mice get in?

Mice only need the size of a dime to squeeze through an opening. Think about the weather stripping on your overhead garage door. Think about gaps around those old windows in the basement. Or maybe there’s a piece of siding that came off the side of the house. Do you have a stove? One of the most common rodent entry points is behind the stove. If the openings where utility lines run into your house are not properly sealed, these can act as highways into your warm, cozy abode for all kinds of pests.

It’s enough to drive you mad. If you’ve had it trying to figure out where mice are getting in, just call us. Our experts have trained eyes for these things! And they’ll educate you as they’re inspecting so you can impress your neighbors next time you’re out front chit-chatting.

Rats vs. Mice

Would you be able to tell if you had a mouse or a rat in the house? It’s okay if you have no idea. That’s why experts like ours have jobs! They’ve gone through so much public health training and testing to know these things so well that you don’t have to think about it. There are some major differences between rats vs. mice.

Sure, they’re both in the rodent family and it’s obvious that an adult mouse is much smaller than an adult rat. Mice and rats have differences in terms of size, appearance, behavior, and habitat preferences. Mice are generally smaller, with slender bodies, large ears, and tails that are longer than their bodies. They typically weigh between 0.5 to 1 ounce. On the other hand, rats are larger, with more robust bodies, smaller ears relative to their size, and scaly tails that are shorter than their bodies. Rats are substantially heavier, often ranging from 5 to 10 ounces or more.

deer mouse on basement couch

In terms of behavior, mice are generally more curious and tend to explore new objects cautiously, while rats are often more cautious and suspicious of new things. Additionally, mice typically nest in smaller, more hidden spaces, while rats may create nests in burrows or more extensive, concealed areas.

Dropping Size

This is a great way to tell mice and rats apart. Mouse droppings are typically small and rod-shaped, resembling dark grains of rice. On average, they measure about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch in length. House mice (Mus musculus), one of the most common species found in homes, produce droppings at the smaller end of this range. The droppings are often scattered along the paths mice travel and can be a key indicator of their presence in a particular area.

City vs. Country Environment

Rodents exhibit different behaviors and adaptations in urban (city) and rural (country) environments. In largely populated cities, where human activities provide abundant food sources and shelter, rats are more common. They thrive in burrows around buildings, seeking refuge in walls, basements, and attics. The availability of discarded food and warm structures makes urban areas attractive to rats.

In contrast, the countryside offers mice a more natural habitat, with fields, farmlands, and open spaces providing ample resources. Mice in rural settings might construct nests in outdoor spaces, barns, or sheds. With the development of homes and subdivisions, displacement is quite common. Once mice are forced from their natural habitats, they’ll tend to invade human dwellings.

deer mouse in natural habitat

Regardless of your environment, we’re here to help keep you protected. Get a free quote for our Healthy Home Maintenance Plan today! Your health is our #1 priority!

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