January 5, 2023

Baby Rat vs. Mouse: What Rodents are Indoors?

Hey, what’s that little critter scurrying around?

A rodent infestation can cause significant damage to your home, especially if they sneak indoors to breed. During cold winter months, when most of us bundle up around the heater, rats and mice run around your home searching for the perfect place to nest.

It’s difficult to discern between a baby rat vs. mouse, as both are comparable in size. You may not even know the root of your pest infestation unless these tiny pests grow larger!

Keep reading to learn more about baby rats and full-grown mice. Plus, never forget that Zunex has your back regarding pesky pests!

Why are Rodents Inside?

The biggest question many questions have is: Why are these pests even in my home?

Mice or rat infestations can happen at any time of the year, but they’re most common during the fall and winter. When the weather outdoors grows cold, rodents scamper in to find food and create new homes. 

Think about all the delicacies in your pantry and kitchen cabinets. Piles upon piles of food waiting for a small rat or mouse to sink their sharp teeth into. Pre-packaged groceries aren’t safe from these pests as they can bite through many materials. 

Pet food and trash are also typical hotspots for foraging rodents. Last week’s leftovers look appealing to a rat or mouse, and Fido’s premium dog food is enough to entice any sneaky pest. 

Besides their need for nourishment, rodents also enter our homes for protection against harsh outdoor elements. These pests can’t survive in freezing temperatures and prefer to bundle up alongside us indoors.

Because of our temperature-controlled buildings and hefty food stockpiles, rats and mice will stick around as long as possible. You may even hear them scurrying through your ceiling and walls, spreading waste and harmful pathogens. 

Don’t forget that rodents utilize our homes to raise their young. Because our homes offer shelter from the outdoors, rats or mice may set down their roots in your attic, basement, storage boxes, cabinets, or drawers.

It’s difficult to tell a baby rat vs. mouse apart, especially if you’re unsure what pest is inhabiting and breeding inside your home. Most rats act fast, too, with some females giving birth to up to five or more children six times a year!

While they can reproduce any time of the year, mouse and rat populations typically soar during the warm spring and summer months. It’s not uncommon to see baby rodents during the winter, but most avoid breeding when it’s too cold. 

If you spot young pests in a nest or even notice more rodents milling around your home, these pests could’ve given birth after fall reproduction or found your place cozy enough to start a family. 

When left unchecked, a rodent infestation can quickly spiral out of control. Their fast reproduction rates mean that a few generations could emerge without proactive pest control measures designed to prevent or flush these pests out. 

Baby Rat vs. Mouse

A newborn rat should look different from a fully grown mouse. Baby rodents of any species are typically tiny and hairless, only growing small tufts of fur a few days to a week after birth. 

However, during this period of growth, it’s easy to get these two mixed up at first glance. Unless you catch the rodent idle or happen upon its nest, it’s unlikely you’ll get a good glimpse at the pests roaming your home. 

Knowing the difference between a rat and mouse infestation can help you choose pest control options. Both can spread harmful pathogens and diseases, but rats are typically more aggressive than the average house mouse, leading to more bites.

Mice are more fearless than the other species, often streaking out in front of homeowners or scampering around while your family actively enjoys your home. Because of their bravery, you may experience slightly more food deterioration, while larger rats cause more physical damage.

Each species brings its problems to the table, but both still require prompt action to avoid serious pest issues. Here’s how you can tell a baby rat vs. mouse apart!

Droppings in Your Home

Any rodent infestation has other side effects besides food damage. These pests notoriously leave waste behind anywhere they roam. 

Rat waste is typically much larger than mouse droppings. Usually larger and wider than a grain of rice, rat droppings can range from ½ an inch to ¾ of an inch in length.

Mice feces, on the other hand, caps out at around ¼ an inch. These tiny pellets resemble small black specs and are easy to miss unless you see droppings congregated together. 

If you find any waste larger than a grain of rice, you can safely assume the small pest you spotted indoors was a baby rat unless you have an infestation of both species. Just keep in mind that the adults are probably nearby in your home too!

Size of the Animal

You can quickly tell the rodents apart if you’ve managed to get a good look at the pest. Even as adolescents, rats are usually lengthier than your average house mouse, with many species growing up to be around 16 inches in total. 

Mice have compact bodies, only growing upwards of 3-4 inches. Their limbs are much shorter, with their tiny feet paling in comparison to a rat’s much larger appendages. 

Young rats may visually resemble house mice, but they’re usually longer and darker than the other small species. Think back to the animal you’ve spotted when trying to discern what pest is infesting your home.

The Extent of Damage

Still curious about the differences between a baby rat vs. mouse? Evaluate the level of damage you’ve found in your home. 

Rats have considerably larger teeth and are capable of taking down larger targets. Harder plastics or rigid pieces of cardboard aren’t problems for hearty rats looking for their next meal in your pantry. 

Teeth marks are an excellent sign of the problem you have in your home. A rat’s larger size gives it an advantage, allowing them to cause more issues indoors. Extensive home damage can also indicate a rat infestation instead of mice. 

While both are major problems and can similarly spread diseases throughout your home, rats can cause more trouble for your precious possessions!

Here’s the bottom line. These pests could make you sick without proper control! Whenever you spot a rodent overstaying its welcome, you should consider contacting a reputable pest control company like Zunex to resolve the problem quickly.

Contact us today for any of your rodent control needs!

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