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Milton Keynes rat control technician dealing with a rat infestation in kitchen

Differences Between Rat and Mice Infestations

Rats and mice are among the most popular rodents. Although subtle, there are differences between rat and mice infestations. Knowing the difference will help you identify which type of rodent problem you have so that you can get the right treatment to cure it.

The typical rat will reach up to 18 inches in total length, while a typical mouse will reach just three to four inches. Note that this difference in body length is also true of their tail length; the average rat’s tail is nearly as long as its body length, while a mouse’s tail is usually only slightly longer than its body.

Rodents bite and chew on anything within their reach, including their own legs, but gnawing on something solid such as wood, metal, or plastic makes them most of the most prolific of vandals. They will gnaw on just about anything, but prefer to gnaw on things that are structurally sound. Rats are highly aggressive creatures and will attack anything in their paths whether they be gnawing on wooden doors, windows, appliances, or anything else that will get in their way.

Differences Between Mice and Rat 

Rodent Lifespan

There is also a difference in their average lifespan. Rats can live for several years, which is significantly longer than the lifespan of most other rodents. Mice, on the other hand, can live for only two to three years. This means that there are a lot more seniors in the geriatric group than in younger ones. Mice also tend to live much longer than the average rat because they spend more time out of the elements.

Rodents As Disease Carriers

While it is almost certainly true that rats carry several diseases and pests with them, mice are by far the more dangerous of the two. They are capable of carrying around diseases like Rabies, Leptospirosis, and Cap Parasites, which can all be fatal to humans. Rats are also capable of carrying around Lice, which are also very harmful to humans. Although mice are probably not as prolific as rats when it comes to spreading deadly diseases and pests, they are much more likely to do so since they are more readily accessible to humans and because of the widespread availability of rats as pets.


If you have ever seen the droppings of a rat or mouse near a solid structure with holes nearby, it might be a sign of the presence of rats. Rats burrow tunnels into the soft soil to create safe and cozy dens that will provide a place for them to live and breed. This allows them to often stay hidden from view. On the other hand, mice are typically passive and do not tend to create burrows but rather nests in warm cosy places in your home, moving mainly to seek out food and water.

Despite their differences, rats and mice can both cause extensive damage to structures within your property, resulting in potentially thousands of pounds in remedial work and risk to the health of your family. In the hospitality sector, an infestation of rodents such as rats and mice can be enough for Environmental Health to shut your business down and ruin your reputation amongst your customers. To restore your property back to normal and proof it for future rat and mice invasions, a professional rat  control or mice control service like 1st Call Pest Control might be required.


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