Pest control: Mice vs. rats

QUICK TIP: Look for track and trail marks in dusty, rarely used areas. Sprinkle flour or talcum powder on the floor in the afternoon or evening so you can check it the following day for fresh tracks.

Has some sort of rodent scurried past you at home, only to leave you unsure of what it is? Chances are it’s one of the two most common pests: a mouse or a rat.

When it comes to addressing the problem, knowing the difference between a mouse and rat problem can save you a whole host of trouble! Here’s what you need to know about both of these common household pests and managing them…


Yes. As carriers of diseases, mice or rats can pose not only a health risk but a logistical issue. They tend to chew through wiring and cause electrical issues or a fire hazard – or they can get into your pantry and contaminate foods. Rats can even shred certain building materials, think insulation, wood and more!


If you’ve come face to face with the offending pest, the easiest way to tell mice and rats apart is based on their physical appearance. While quite similar in colouring, rats are usually much larger than mice in size. In fact, they can grow up to 40cm long! Mice have a more triangular shaped snout, while rats’ snouts are blunter and rounded in appearance. Another key feature is their tails: where mice have thin hairy tails, rats have hairless, even scaly-looking tails.


If you haven’t had the misfortune of running into a rodent at home, these are the signs you need to keep an eye out for:


mouse and rat problem

50 – 80 Droppings A Night

Leaving droppings is how mice spread disease, so it’s always a good idea to look out for them. Generally, they will be small, dark and randomly distributed – usually at night as mice are nocturnal. Check-in cupboards, under sinks and along walls.

Strong Urine Smell

Mice track their routes for other mice by frequently urinating en route to their next stop. This can lead to a very strong ammonia smell which can remain even after they have been removed.


Look in ceiling, cavities or any sort of hidey-hole for mice nests like under the floorboards, cupboards or large appliances. Typically these nests will be strips of soft materials like paper, plastic, fabric etc.

Scratching Noises

Mice are nocturnal creatures, so listen out for scratching noises after dark, when they’re most active.


mouse and rat problem

20 – 40 Droppings A Night

Rat droppings are characteristically dark brown and similar in shape and size to a rice grain. Generally speaking, rat droppings are more closely packed than mice droppings and fewer in number.

Greasy Marks

Rats don’t have the best eyesight, so they establish and use familiar “routes” to get around. Look for grease or dirt smudges along surfaces that could be made by rats constantly brushing their fur against objects on their daily route.


While mice build nests, rats tend to dig complex burros or utilise pre-existing tunnels. Check areas like attics, garden sheds, wall cavities, piping etc.

Bruxing Noise

Brown rats often make a noise that is called ‘bruxing’ when they grinding their teeth. Also, keep an ear out for scratching or scurrying footsteps at night when rats are most active.


Once you know which pest you need to target, take a look at the Efekto solutions on offer:

Supa Kill Sachet

mouse and rat problem

A highly active anticoagulant ready-to-use grain bait for the control of Rats and Mice.

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Eco Rat

mouse and rat problem

A ready-to-use rodenticide soft block bait for the control of mice (Mus musculus), Norwegian or brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) and Roof rats (Rattus rattus) in and around buildings, including strains resistant to anticoagulants. Size: 140g (7x20g soft blocks)

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Supa Kill Rat & Mouse Granular

Pest Control: Mice Vs. Rats

A highly active anticoagulant ready-to-use grain bait for the control of Rats and Mice.

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Supa Kill Rat & Mouse Blocks

Pest Control: Mice Vs. Rats

A highly active anticoagulant ready-to-use bait block for the control of Rats and Mice.

Read more about the product:

For more assistance with your pest control problems, you can always consult our problem solver.