What’s the Difference Between Mice and Rats in Scranton, PA?

Rodents like mice or rats are a common problem that many homeowners in Scranton, PA face. These animals can rapidly take over a home and turn into a full-blown infestation. This kind of infestation is severe and can lead to health problems when they get into your food. Mice can also cause electrical damage and destroy personal items stored in attics.

If you’re one of the thousands of Scranton residents dealing with rodents, the first step is understanding what type of rodent you have in your home. Mice and rats are often confused with each other, and it may leave you wondering how to tell the two apart.

What do mice and rats look like?

There are several physical traits that help you distinguish one from the other. Keep reading to learn more about their differences.


  • Mice range in size from 12 to 20 cm and don’t weigh more than 30 grams.
  • They are either white, gray, or brown in color.
  • Their snouts are pointier and have whiskers.
  • Mice have shorter, skinnier tails that are hairy.


  • Much larger than mice, and can grow as large as 40 cm.
  • Rats are either white, brown, gray, and black, depending on their breed.
  • Their snouts are round and blunt.
  • Longer, thicker tails that are hairless and slightly scaly.

Now that you know about the physical differences, you’re probably curious to learn the difference between mice and rat behavior. Unsurprisingly, these animals have a lot in common when it comes to how they act, including:

  • Both are nocturnal animals.
  • They are both omnivores.
  • They both nest, and some even burrow.
  • Each can have five or more litters a year.
  • They can live in a variety of climates.

Although there are several commonalities between these two rodents, many behaviors set them apart. Even though they are smaller in size, mice tend to be a bit bolder than rats. Mice are usually curious and will explore new things, including traps. It’ll take more than a baited trap to trick a rat though. Rats typically live in fear, so they are very cautious about new things and won’t explore like mice. It takes rats a lot longer to investigate new things as opposed to mice, which sometimes can make it difficult for trapping.

When it comes to nesting, mice are skillful climbers and have no problem inhabiting the attic in your home. Due to their small size, mice can also fit into the smallest of holes, allowing them to access parts of your home you didn’t think anything could fit in. Rats, on the other hand, can climb but prefer to inhabit lower levels of a structure, such as a basement or a crawlspace.

How can I tell if rodents are in my home?

Now that you know the differences between mice and rats, it’s time to learn about the warning signs of a rodent infestation.

Spotting Them

You may seeing a mouse or a rat. Even if you only see one, it can point to a much larger problem. That’s because these rodents are timid and sneaky, so catching a glimpse of one is a clear indication of their prevalence in your home.

Hearing Them

Both mice and rats are known to live in private, safe places they can burrow like inside walls or attics. Hearing scratching or scraping sounds is common for those dealing with an infestation since they move throughout the structure of the house.


These rodents typically leave droppings wherever they go, including where they eat and where they nest. Their droppings can carry harmful bacteria, viruses, and diseases.

Finding Nests

Both of these rodents create nests out of different materials like parts of your house’s structure and trash. These nests are always well-hidden inside the house. Rats also create burrows within the ground. Finding the opening holes is a dead giveaway of rat activity.

Gnaw Marks

Mice and rats are known to chew on everything from wires to wood, which leaves behind apparent marks. If you notice any gnaw marks on wood or cables that appear to be chewed through, you likely have an infestation on your hands.

Rub Marks

Rodents leave an oily residue on the surfaces they touch. Since they can climb vertically, it’s common to find vertical streaks of this residue. Look for entry points around your attic, around utility pipes, and by drop ceilings.

How can Seitz Bros. get rid of rodents in my home?

When you’re dealing with rodents, you have to call on the best, and that means calling . We effectively eliminate mice and rats using our targeted one-time treatments and monthly or quarterly maintenance plans. If you suspect that you have a rodent infestation, call us or fill out the contact form on this page to set up a free inspection today.