Rodents are among the most annoying and dangerous creatures that may live in your home. These rodents can carry and spread different types of diseases to humans. However, did you know that there are two different types of rodents?

Rats and mice are two different creatures, needing different strategies to trap them. It’s easier to know what pest control method will work well if you know the differences between the two. Learn more about rats vs mice by reading the rest of our guide.


Rodent droppings will help you analyze which four-legged vermin is roaming your home. The droppings differ in shape and size, helping you determine rats vs mice.

When it comes to rats, there are two common breeds you’ll encounter. The first is the pack rat, which is brown in color, with some variants going grey. The other is the roof rat, which is often colored black and has a long tail behind it. 

Pack rat droppings have a spindle shape in a dark brown color. Their droppings resemble the shape of a grain of rice, but they’re a bit wider. Roof rat droppings are longer and thinner in form, almost similar to a banana shape.

Mice produce droppings with a granular shape with black color. These rodents’ droppings can cause health risks, like rat-bite fever or hantavirus. If you see plenty of mice and rat droppings, be sure to contact a licensed Tuscon pest control company to handle the problem for you.


Pack rats will often start out nesting outdoors. They’re much more comfortable with the wide spaces that allow them to run free. This is also why they’re also known as desert rats.

While outside, they cause a lot of damage to different elements of your property. Any automobile you have parked outside and pool pumps are often their targets. They eventually move inside your home and reside in the attic, where they can chew on wiring.

Roof rats are similar to pack rats in this regard. The only difference is that they’ll move into your roof or attic sooner. 

Mice will start off outside, too, but will go through any small hole in the areas of your home and move in. They also like staying near comfortable materials that are soft and fibrous. You can find them living near dry grass, paper, old clothing, and even in your insulation.


Pack rats are bold. They’ll move around your home to get to where they want despite the activity that an area has. This makes them easier to catch, though, as you’ll likely come across them around your house.

They’re also not trap-shy. This means they’ll follow their usual routes even when something new gets placed along the path. It makes it easy for you to use traps to get rid of them.

Mice are trap-shy, unlike desert rats. This makes it harder for you to catch them using traps the first time you notice them around your house. However, they get used to traps quickly and often become lax when running around your home, allowing you to catch them with ease.

Roof rats are much smarter than desert rats. They’re cautious about any danger that may present itself along their path. This is why you’re less likely to come across them.

They’re also trap-shy. It’s harder to use traps to catch them, but it’s still possible to catch them with well-hidden traps. In fact, you can catch all three types of rodents with traps, but only if you’re persistent.

Studying their movement patterns is a great way to ensure you catch them. Placing traps where they frequent will allow you to be more successful in getting rid of them.

One thing you should avoid doing is placing poison bait where they reside. You don’t want a dead rat somewhere you can’t find them. It’ll waft the smell across your house without the means to remove it easily.

Eating Habits

Comparing rats vs mice can be confusing since they both are omnivorous. Both desert rats and mice love cereals and dry foods. They also love going for grains, but they differ in how they eat the grains.

Pack rats cut into the grain, giving it the appearance as if they chopped the grains. Mice remove the outer husk to bring out the white endosperm to eat. They both go to the same places to find food, making it easier to bait them.

The roof rats prefer to go for moist fruits and foods as both a food and water source. They don’t eat at the exact location for consecutive nights, making it harder to bait them. Both types of rats take a while to take new baits, while mice will accept any available foods.

Marks and Footprints

Rats walk by using the pads on the feet, leaving footprints on dusty areas. When it travels on surfaces, you can find continuous dirty smudges due to its oily fur. Rats tend to walk on their tippy-toes.

They leave tiny footprint smudges that may seem almost non-existent. Since mice are smaller than rats, you may find small footprints on different surfaces. Urine and grease may start to build on their pathways, which can stay for a long time.


Baby mice vs baby rats differ in litter size and maturity time. Mice have a higher sexual maturity and produce larger litters, with about 4 to 16 baby mice. They grow into full adults after 8 to 12 weeks, and the mother can produce seven to eight more litters per year.

Rats have a litter size ranging from five to ten baby rats. Both types of rats can produce three to six litters of baby rats every year. It can take 7 to 12 weeks for a rat to be fully grown.

Know Which One Is In Your Home: Rats vs Mice

Now that you know the difference between rats vs mice, you can find the right pest control solution. If you need help with getting rid of rats, contact us today.

We provide a non-poison, safe, and effective method of removing pack rats from your home.