Rat Poop vs Mouse Poop: What’s the Difference?

Written by August Buck
Published: February 5, 2022
Image Credit MainelyPhotos/Shutterstock.com
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No one likes seeing rat poop vs mouse poop in their house, though it can be difficult to tell which one is which. While these rodents are both considered pests, especially if you notice them pooping in your cupboard, it is important to identify which problem you have in your home. Both mice and rat poop aren’t something you want to see, but the steps that you can take to get rid of either one of these rodents differ depending on which you have.

In this article, we will discuss some of the key differences between rat poop vs mouse poop so that you can best prepare yourself for whatever pest might be in your home. While you may need the help of an exterminator depending on the situation that you’re dealing with, identifying the problem in your home is step one. Let’s dive in and start learning now.

Comparing Rat Poop vs Mouse Poop

Rat poop is generally larger than mouse poop and also shiny.

A-Z-Animals.com

Rat PoopMouse Poop
Appearance Black, rounded, like raisinsBrown, tapered at both ends
Size ½ inch or greater¼ inch or smaller
Shiny? YesNot usually
Amount Occasional droppings or pile of themMany small droppings in one area
Location Floor, cupboards, near nest locationCupboards, food locations, nest location

The Main Differences Between Rat Poop vs Mouse Poop

rat poop vs mouse poop
Mouse poop is significantly smaller than rat poop, often not measuring longer than 1/4th of an inch, while rat poop is often a ½ inch or greater.

KireevI/Shutterstock.com

There are many key differences between rat poop vs mouse poop. Mouse poop is significantly smaller than rat poop, often not measuring longer than 1/4th of an inch, while rat poop is often a ½ inch or greater. Rat poop is also shinier than mouse poop, which could be an easy way for you to tell the difference between these two infestations.

But what other ways might you be able to tell the difference between mouse poop and rat poop? Read on to discover some of these key distinctions!

Rat Poop vs Mouse Poop: Shape

Mouse Poop vs Rat Poop - Rat Poop
Rat poop is longer and can be shiny.

Photo – TMD/Shutterstock.com

A key difference between rat poop and mouse poop is the overall shape of the poop. For example, rat poop is rounded from end to end, while mouse poop often tapers off at both ends. This leads to rat poop having a more raisin or coffee bean shape to it, while mouse poop is far less round in comparison.

While no one wants to be staring at poop for very long, it can be important to identify these different shapes. Mice rarely produce rounded poops, which means the taper will be key in telling the difference between rat and mouse poop.

Rat poop vs mouse poop
Most rat poop can be equated to the size of a small raisin or coffee bean, while mouse poop is often compared to a chocolate sprinkle.

iStock.com/CreativeNature_nl

Rat Poop vs Mouse Poop: Size

Mouse Poop vs Rat Poop - Mouse Poop
Mouse poop tapers at both ends and is about 1/4 of an inch.

Pegasene/Shutterstock.com

Another key difference between rat poop vs mouse poop has to be the size of their poop. Most homeowners will take the size of the poop into account first, and for good reason. Rats leave behind much larger droppings when compared to mice, and it should be obvious to the naked eye which pest you have.

Most rat poop can be equated to the size of a small raisin or coffee bean, while mouse poop is often compared to a chocolate sprinkle. While none of this is particularly appetizing, knowing the average size of these two droppings will only help you tell the difference. Rats leave droppings that average ½ an inch to ¾ an inch, while mice usually only leave droppings of a ¼ inch size or smaller.

Rat poop vs mouse poop
 Rat poop is often shiny and black, while mouse poop is a much duller brown, more of a matte shade.

iStock.com/rtrible

Rat Poop vs Mouse Poop: Shine

Another potential difference between rat poop vs mouse poop is the overall shininess of the droppings. For example, rat poop is often shiny and black, while mouse poop is a much duller brown, more of a matte shade. While it can be difficult to tell the difference without looking at the droppings side by side, you may keep this in mind when assessing your pest situation. Using shine as the final identifying feature when compared with size and shape should help!

House Mouse

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About the Author

I am a non-binary freelance writer working full-time in Oregon. Graduating Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre and a specialization in creative writing, I have an invested interest in a variety of topics, particularly Pacific Northwest history. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping along the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my home kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast iron skillet.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How do you tell if you have rats or mice?

You can tell if you have rats or mice based on many different things. If you find droppings in your home, you can tell the difference between rat poop vs mouse poop based on the size, shape, and color of the poop. Rats also tend to leave more destruction behind when compared to mice, given their overall size. Rats eat more, poop more, and may leave more evidence that they have been in your home when compared to the diminutive mouse.

Is it worse to have mice or rats?

While both pests are bad to have in your home, many experts agree that it is worse to have rats in your home over mice. Rats cause far more destruction than mice do given their size and dietary needs. Their large teeth are more destructive overall as well, especially when compared to the size of mouse teeth.

However, both rodents are bad to have in your home. They are equally destructive, though rats can cause more destruction in less time when compared to mice.

What's easier to get rid of: mice or rats?

Mice are significantly easier to get rid of than rats. This is often due in part to a rat’s ingenious ability to remove bait from a trap without getting caught. However, both rodents can be notoriously difficult to get rid of, especially if you believe that you have an infestation in your attic, walls, or basement.

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