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Is the Rodent in Your Home a Brown Rat, Black Rat or a Mouse?

Image of a rat in white backgroundIf you have spotted a rodent in your home or garden, it may be a brown rat, black rat or house mouse. Here are tips on how you can tell which of these three most prevalent species of rat and mouse has invaded your property.


Rats are larger, longer and heavier than mice. The brown rat is larger than the black rat. Mice are usually 3-10 cm long and often confused with young rats. However, a mouse is likely to be light gray or brown. Young rats also have larger feet and head compared to their bodies.

Eating habits

Rats and mice are omnivorous. However, brown rats and house mice prefer cereals. Black rats love moist fruits and other high-moisture foods. Unlike mice and brown rats, black rats do not seek food in the same places on consecutive nights.

Accordingly, rodent extermination services in Salt Lake City prefer baiting brown rats and mice than baiting black rats.

Living and nesting places

Brown rats reside on the ground and burrows. You can usually see them outdoors and in sewer systems. Black rats are also known as ship rats because they love living in properties around ports and ships. These agile climbers often nest under roofs and in trees.

Although mice can also climb, they usually live on the ground and nest in burrows.


The size and shape of droppings differ according to the rodent’s body size. You can usually find rat droppings in groups. Brown rats have wide, dark brown, rice-shaped droppings. Black rats have long and thin droppings.

Mouse droppings look like black grains of rice and are usually found in large numbers and scattered near nesting places.

Many homeowners see the rat and the mouse as the same animal, while mice as young rats. However, these rodents are distinctly different animals. Your rodent extermination service in Salt Lake City will advise and help you according to the specific animal on your property.