How to Know If You Have Rats or Mice? What You Should Do Next ?
The sudden appearance of a rat can evoke a scream from even the toughest men
and women – but what can be worse is not knowing whether or not your pest
problem can be attributed to them. Mice are often the lesser of two evils, but neither
are welcome and must be dealt with quickly before they multiply.
So, how do you know if the problem you’re dealing with is mice or rats and what
should you do to combat the problem? We’ll cover it all in this guide.
What are the warning signs I may have rats or mice?
The most obvious sign is always going to be a sighting of something brown darting
across the room, garden, or storage space when you enter, but here are the more
subtle signs you can look for. Remember that the earlier you tackle a rodent
problem, the better.
Teeth marks on doors and containers – they can easily gnaw through
plastic and will work their way through soft wood relatively easily too. Rat
teeth marks are easily visible and you can see the mark from each tooth.
Mice can do similar damage but it will be on a smaller scale and they are
unlikely to get into plastic bins, whereas rats will.
Mice: tiny (0.5cm) dark brown droppings – mice aren’t discerning where
they leave their droppings, and you’ll typically find them anywhere they’ve
Rats: Small (1cm) dark brown droppings – these tend to be in a
concentrated area, and may only cause the smell described below if you
can’t see them. Keep a particular eye out if you have animal feed they may
be eating, as they may leave droppings in the feed.
A sour smell near areas they could be hiding from view – rat and mice
droppings and urine is particularly fragrant (and unpleasant!) so if you notice
a smell developing in a relatively unused area of the property, mice and rats
may be the cause.
A hole under buildings or fencing or even in walls of wooden structures,
typically around the size of the top of a drinking glass for rats, but can be
smaller – they will gnaw or dig to make these holes. Mice holes are often
around an inch across, but they can squeeze through almost any gap.
Grease build-up/rub marks around these holes from the natural oils on
their fur – rodents tend to use the same routes again and again, so you may
find marks on the walls near their routes and around any holes they’ve
Signs of nesting such as shredded paper, soft furnishings, cardboard,
insulation, and similar materials – this may be near a hole in a wall, under a
building, or even in the roof.
Small footprints in dust or mud – their tails may leave a mark too.
How can I find out if I have rats or mice or not?
If you plan to get the experts in to help you, the best thing to do is simply give us a
call if you’re in Oxfordshire (or your local pest experts if you’re elsewhere in the
world) and ask us to come and inspect for you. We offer same-day pest control so
you won’t have to wait long before the pest problem is dealt with, regardless of if it’s
a rat problem or another pest.
If you want to try and discover what the problem is on your own, there are a few
1. Dust talcum powder or flour over areas where you believe the pests are
traveling, and look at the footprints in the morning.
2. Put on some gloves and a face mask and have a good look around the areas
where you are suspicious. Look for droppings, bite marks, and other signs we
talked about above. Check:
Under and around decking and gazebos
Loft and attic space
Around the perimeter of buildings, especially those without a concrete
Storage rooms, sheds, garages, and warehouses
Around outdoor animal houses, such as rabbit hutches and chicken
Compost bins and mounds
Drains and drain and sewer covers
3. Set up a camera, if you have one to hand, or take a look at your CCTV.
Are there different kinds of mice and rats in the UK?
Yes, there are two different types of wild rat you should be on the lookout for: brown
rats, which are the ones we are most familiar with, and black rats.
Black rats are the ones we won’t often see, and aren’t common to UK homes. They
are most often seen around ports, but if you receive a lot of deliveries to your
business, smallholding or farm, they may have made their way to you. They are
typically smaller than our common brown rat, and have a much more mouse-like
appearance, with a slender nose and larger ears.
All rats can, unfortunately, climb, but black rats are best known for doing this and
won’t typically dig to make their home, unlike brown rats. Instead, they’ll climb high
and next in attic spaces and similar high-and-dry spaces.
While there are a number of different types of mouse in the UK, the house mouse is
the most likely one to give you trouble. If you’re in a country location, a field mouse
may venture inside, especially in cold or wet weather, but you should look for the
same signs for each.
How do I get rid of mice and rats?
Discovering that you do indeed have a mouse or rat infestation is a concerning time
– they’re unhygienic and may be contaminating your home or business. No one
should have to live and work with a rodent infestation, and so the best thing to do is
always give us a call and we’ll come out to your Oxfordshire home or business as
soon as possible to help you deal with the problem.
Remember mice and rats multiply fast, especially if you have a rich food supply,
and they can also become bold.
If you are still only worried that you have a rat problem and want to attempt to deal
with it yourself, you need to be careful. Rat poison is typically the route individuals
choose to go, but obviously you need to be particularly cautious when using toxic
chemicals around your home or business, especially if you have other animals or
children in the area.
Snap traps are fast and generally clean killers, but are unpleasant to deal with and
not ideal for areas that are being used. Live traps are a romantic idea, but you have
to travel with the rodent at least 2 miles away from your home or it will return!
Generally, the best course of action is to call the professionals to deal with the
problem on this occasion, and then work on prevention to stop the problem from
reoccurring. Our professionals can give you advice on how to prevent further
infestation in the future, for your individual needs and circumstances.
Why is it so important to deal with a rat problem?
If you’re an animal lover, it can be particularly difficult to come to terms with the idea
they you’ll have to call pest control to get rid of the problem. The problem with mice,
rats and so many other pests is that they put your health at risk if you allow them to
continue living (and multiplying) near you. Rats and other pests carry diseases that
can transfer through their droppings and urine, and if you’re “sharing” your living or
working space with them, you’re at risk of becoming infected.
We’re here to help you with any pest problem in Oxfordshire. When you call or
message us, whether you need us to come and confirm your suspicions or deal with
an emergency, we’ll be with you as soon as possible. We provide pest control
support for all homes and businesses throughout Oxfordshire, so if you have any
questions at all don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Call: 01865 579366