Rats and mice share many similarities. While rats are big rodents and mice are small rodents, they are equally difficult to keep out. But keep them out you must. Once rats or mice invade your West Chester home, they can pose a health concern, damage your property, and drive you crazy as you attempt to arrest your infestation. Join us as we look at how mice and rats differ, how they are the same, how they are not harmless woodland critters, and what you can do to keep them out. At the end, we'll discuss a few ways your West Chester pest control service provider can help you with rodent problems. If you need immediate assistance with either of these common rodents, jump to our contact page and connect with us. Our pest management professionals are happy to help. 

mouse in leaves
rat in garage

How Mice And Rats Differ In Appearance 

Mice look a lot like rats. It makes sense. Both are rodents. But not all rodents look like these two common domestic rodents. Beavers, rabbits, porcupines, and guinea pigs not only look different from rats and mice, they also look different from each other. There are more than 2,000 rodent species in the world and there is quite a diversity in this group. But rats and mice look so much like each other, it leads some people to believe that they're the same species. It may surprise you to know that they are so different that they can't mate with each other. So why do they look so much alike and behave in similar ways? We don't know. All we know is that there are differences in their appearance and in how they behave when they come into your West Chester yard. If you hope to keep them away, it is good to know the differences. Let's begin with how they differ in appearance.

Nose: A rat has a rounded snout. The nose of a mouse is more conical or pointed. 

Body: A mouse has a short body, not only in length but also in appearance.

Tail: A mouse has a long, thin tail that is about the same length as its body. A rat has a long, thick tail, but it is not quite as long as the tail of a mouse. It is also not quite as hairy.

Ears: Mice have big, perky ears with thin hair within the ears. The ears of a rat are smaller and have less hair.

If you see one of these rodents crawling around on your property, take note of which one it is. Rats and mice don't prefer to infest a structure at the same time. In fact, rats often attack and eat mice. It is also important to know which rodent you have because mice are far more frustrating to deal with in residential structures. The reason is linked to their ability to subsist on a minuscule amount of food. Rats may find another place to live if food resources are not substantial. The exception to this is when rats use a home for harborage but find food sources outside.     

Both Rats And Mice Are Dangerous To Have In Your Home

In most cases, rats are not aggressive. But they are known to get aggressive when it is needed. A rat may chase and bite if provoked. Mice only bite when cornered and frightened. But both of these animals are dangerous when they invade your home—and it has nothing to do with whether or not they bite.

  • Rodents chew on wires inside walls and attic spaces, which is hazardous to the rodents but even more hazardous to everyone living in your home. A severed wire can spark a house fire.
  • Rodents climb in sewers, dumpsters, trash receptacles, compost, etc. They come in contact with many dirty things in the urban landscape. For this reason, they are a vehicle for harmful germs and parasitic worms.
  • Rodents leave their droppings as they crawl around inside homes. Contact with droppings or food exposed to droppings are health concerns. It is also a concern when droppings dry in air ducts or attic spaces and become airborne dust particles. Inhaling this material can lead to respiratory issues.
  • Rodents pick up ticks and fleas during their travels. These two pests have a long list of diseases they can transmit to humans, dogs, and cats.
  • Rodents are a danger to your stuff. They not only damage belongings with their teeth, they soil them with their droppings and urine.

Rats and mice are not woodland critters. They are urban pests. It is best to keep rats and mice away from your West Chester home. There are far too many ways they can impact your health and damage your property.        

Prevention Tips For Mice And Rats Are Very Similiar 

While rats and mice are not the same species, they share several similarities. It is actually surprising considering they are two entirely different kinds of rodents. If you're looking to keep these backyard rodents from turning into indoor pests, the following tips will help.

  • Rodents have poor eyesight and must rely on their other senses to navigate. As they probe the edges of your property, they will use their whiskers to feel for objects on the ground and their noses to pick up smells around them. Tactile feedback and interesting aromas will impact a rodent's desire to enter your yard. Remove ground clutter to make your yard feel large, open, and intimidating. Manage your trash to prevent a stinky garbage smell. Rodents are attracted to the smell of food, particularly the strong odor of food that is turning bad.
  • Rodents eat many all-natural food sources that are found in yards. They'll nibble on nuts and fruit that fall from trees. They'll eat seeds under birdfeeders—or climb up and get the seeds right out of the feeders. They'll eat insects that crawl on the ground. In light of these things, it is important to rake up nuts and fruits, place birdfeeders a good distance from your exterior, and take steps to reduce insect populations, such as installing motion-sensitive exterior light fixtures or bulbs.
  • Rodents prefer to stay hidden. They love finding dense landscaping to hide in. Trim bushes, shrubs, and other plants. Remove plants to create open space between your plants. Address weeds and unwanted grass. All of these will help to deter rats and mice. 
  • Rodents get under exterior structures, such as decks, patios, and stairs. They also enter crawlspaces. Prevent this harborage by installing hardware cloth as a barrier. Insert the material at least a foot below ground to stop rodents from tunneling under. 
  • Rodents can derive some or all of the moisture they need from the foods they eat, but they still prefer to have a water source to drink. Moisture problems, such as obstructed gutters or leaking pipes can provide all the water a little rodent could want. Clean your gutters and address areas where water is leaking out. Repair exterior pipes and spigots. Get sprinklers that run on a timer.

Taking these steps will strongly deter rats and mice from actively exploring the exterior of your home and finding tiny entry points to exploit. But what do you do if you already have a rat or mouse infestation in your home?   

Professional Rodent Control Is The Best Way To Get Rid Of Mice Or Rats

When mice get inside, they are a pain to control. These pests have a knack for avoiding traps. We recommend sanitation and food protection as a measure residents can take to drive rodents out. These require no specialized knowledge of rodent control strategies or products. When more control is needed, it is best to get professional assistance. A pest management professional will do some or all of the following:

  • We inspect your home and evaluate entry points, routes, and conducive conditions.
  • We develop a treatment strategy appropriate to the task. Outdoor rodent pressures are often addressed with tamper-resistant bait traps. Indoor rodent infestations are addressed with a systematic application of traps and other control and monitoring products.
  • We perform exclusion work to prevent continued rodent entry, starting with sealing off moisture points and other common entry points.
  • We return at appropriate intervals to remove rodents, evaluate the success of the program, and determine if any rodents remain. There is no overnight solution for rats or mice. We work the problem until there is no problem left to work. For mice, we often wait about three weeks between visits. For rats, we typically return weekly, or even more frequently.

Are you in West Chester? Contact Masters Touch Pest Solutions. Our highly trained and licensed pest management professionals have the knowledge and experience to provide you with superior service. When it comes to addressing rats and mice, don't settle for less. These are not harmless critters. They can impact your health and welfare, damage your belongings, and damage your home. It is best not to allow them to live in your home or on your property. 


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