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An infestation is always a nasty surprise, and your first instinct will be to jump to finding the quickest and easiest solution to rid your home of their presence. However, it is important to determine whether the invaders are mice or rats, as this will crucially affect the means of extermination.

Without any previous knowledge, this can seem difficult – mice and rats can appear very similar! Alongside seeking the help of an expert, you can also take a look at our advice on establishing the differences between the two. Armed with this introduction, you should find your ideal solution.


Behavioural instincts

These two animals crucially differ in their attitudes to their surroundings: mice are primarily curious, whilst rats are cautious (linked to their high intelligence). Given that a mouse will approach anything placed in its vicinity, you can be straightforward with your trap placement; positioning it directly in its path should suffice. Conversely, rats avoid anything new in their path. You should therefore take care to initially place unset traps in the rat’s path, before replacing these with set traps.



As you will often become aware of an infestation by overhearing the creatures moving about, this can be one of your main means of determining their identity. Mice are fast runners and are excellent jumpers, swimmers, and climbers – so if you overhear swift scurrying, it’s likely that you have a mouse. As rats are bigger and heavier, a heavier sound usually indicates their presence. They also tend to stick to regular routines and paths, so an identifiable pattern in the invader’s movement also suggests that a rat is responsible.


Living and breeding

These animals’ attitudes to water is a key distinction, as while both mice and rats obviously need to drink, rats are known for their penchant for damp environments and strong swimming abilities. Therefore, if your home is located near a stream or reservoir, you can reasonably consider rats as the main suspects. Rats are also known to burrow under buildings, while mice will rarely dig.
An infestation can be overwhelming, especially if you’re unaware of what you’re dealing with. If you remain at a loss, don’t hesitate to call Elite Pest Control, who will be pleased to provide their knowledge and expertise and help you on your way to a pest-free home.