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


 Feed stores

 Greenhouses

 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