Rats and mice frequently invade homes and businesses, creating countless problems for those that are forced to deal with them. The most important part in being able to deal with these rodents is to first be able to determine which one you are dealing with. Sometimes the rodents are actually seen, which can make them pretty easy to identify. Other times we do not see the actual rodents, so we are forced to rely on other signs that we find in order to properly identify them.
The Norway Rat is characterized as having a heavy, thick body, small ears, small eyes, a blunt nose, and a tail that is shorter than its head and body. They are also known as a Wharf Rat, Sewer Rat, Brown Rat, and Common Rat. Their droppings are blunt, and normally 3/4″ in length.
Weight: 10 – 17 ounces
Body: Heavy, broad, 7″ – 10″, long, blunt head
Color: Back and sides are usually brown to black. Belly is usually gray to yellowish white.
Ears: Small to average. Close to body.
Tail: 6″ to 8.5″ long. Lighter color on underside.
Food Preference: Meats, vegetables, flour, fruits, fish.
Droppings: 30 – 180 droppings per day
The Roof Rat is characterized as having a slender body, large ears, large eyes, a pointed nose, and a tail that is longer than the head and body combined. Also referred to as the Black Rat, Fruit Rat, and Ship Rat. Their droppings are pointed, and normally about 1/2″ in length.
Weight: 6 – 12 ounces
Body: Slender. 6.5″ – 8″ long. Pointed muzzle.
Color: Brownish orange with grayish white belly.
Ears: Large and prominent ears.
Tail: 7.5 ” – 10″ long. Same color on top and bottom of tail.
Food Preference: Fruits, vegetables, eggs, grain, seeds.
Droppings: 30 – 180 per day
The common house mouse is characterized as being small in size, with small feet and a small head. Their droppings are normally pointed, and only about 1/4″ in length.
Weight: 1/2 – 3/4 ounces
Body: On average 2.5″ – 3.5″ in length.
Color: Gray on back. Lighter gray on belly.
Ears: Large, prominent ears.
Tail: 3 – 4″ tail
Food Preference: Meats, vegetables, fruits, grains, cereals, seeds.
Droppings: 50 per day
For most people, the first indication that they have a rodent issue is when they find droppings. Since this is the most common sign discovered, I wanted to make sure I included the below diagram.