How much do you know about rodents? Could you tell a mouse from a rat if you were shown a picture of each? We hope so. These are different rodents and they require slightly different strategies if you hope to control them. Let's take a look at how you can visually identify rats and mice, how to tell which rodents you have even when you don't see them, and look at some prevention tips for each.

a mouse in a living room
a rat on a bathroom sink

How To Identify Mice In Opelika

House mice range in size from 2½ to 3¾ inches with a thin tail that is about the same length. They are typically dusty gray in coloration and have a cream-colored belly. Their mouse traits are:

  • A thin tail

  • A pointed snout

  • Small size (keep in mind that baby rats can be small)

  • Slightly bigger ears than rats

How To Identify Rats In Opelika

We have two common rodents that fall into the rat category. Norway rats are brown rodents that may remain backyard rodents. This is because they like to create burrows in the ground, particularly under piles of junk. Roof rats are black rats. They are rarely backyard rodents. A roof rat would much rather live in your home than live outside. These rats range in size from 6 to 9 inches with a tail the same length.

How To Tell If You Have Mice Or Rats In Your Opelika House

The best way to tell if you have mice or if you have rats is to actually see one. If you watch a big rodent lumber through your yard, you shouldn't have a problem identifying it as a Norway rat. If you see a mid-size rodent climbing in a tree or running along your roof, you've got a roof rat problem. But how do you tell what you have when you don't see the rodents?

  • Big rodents leave big droppings. There is a lot you can tell about your rodent pests by examining the droppings they leave behind. Tiny rodents, like a mouse, will leave droppings half the size of a rat's droppings.

  • Tiny rodents create tiny holes. If you're finding holes the size of a quarter, you're dealing with a rat problem. Adult mice only need a hole the size of a dime.

  • Ground rodents often leave holes for you to find. If you clear some lawn clutter and find a hole underneath, Norway rats are probably the rodents you're dealing with.

  • Rats eat meats, cheese, and other more substantial food items. House mice can live on seeds and bread crumbs. If you see damage to food packages that contain foods rats prefer, you may be able to diagnose your problem.

  • Rats eat mice. So, you won't have an infestation of both rats and mice.

Tips To Keep Rodents Away From Your Opelika Home

Now that you have an idea of what rodent pests you're dealing with, let's take a look at a few unique prevention tips.

  • Ground rodents that are living in your backyard may be kept outside by sealing entry points in your exterior during the day. You can also have a big impact on them by removing lawn clutter.

  • Rats are bigger and stronger than mice. If you have rat pests, you may need to use metal flashing and hardware cloth to bolster areas that are being chewed.

  • Mice can get up to your roof by climbing through your gutters. If you're dealing with mice, you may be able to put wire mesh in your downspouts to prevent this.

  • Roof rats and mice can climb trees and jump onto your roof. Trim tree branches away from your roofline to deter both of these rodent pests.

General Tips To Keep All Rodents Away

Here are a few tips to help you manage any rodents that come into your yard:

  • Trim your landscape vegetation and remove weeds.

  • Clean your gutters to prevent damp conditions near your home.

  • Move woodpiles, dead branches, and leaves away from your exterior.

  • Keep your garbage in covered containers and remove strong odors that can attract rodent pests.

  • Remove bird feeders. Seeds are a preferred food source for rats and mice.

  • If you have trees that bear nuts, keep on top of clean-up and refrain from putting the collected nuts near your home.

  • Keep the interior of your home free of food debris and juice spills. These will make rodents happy they got into your home.

Help For The Different Rodents That Are Pestering You

No matter what rodent pests you're dealing with in Opelika, the service team here at Prewett Pest Control & Termite can help you get control of them. We use industry-leading rodent control solutions to make sure no rodents remain inside the properties we protect. If you have questions, or you'd like to request a service visit from one of our friendly technicians, reach out to us.


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