Squirrels and rats are some of the most common small mammals in the world. Unfortunately, they are pests for humans, often getting into homes, eating food, and causing damage like chewed wires. While they’re in your home, they won’t be clean, either. They’ll leave their droppings all over the insulation in your attic, in your cupboards, and more. Yet, before you can get rid of the pest, you need to know what kind of pest you’re dealing with. Take a quick look at the differences between squirrel poop vs rat poop so you know what steps to take to get rid of them from your home.
Comparing Squirrel Poop and Rat Poop
The Key Differences Between Squirrel Poop vs Rat Poop
The major differences between squirrel poop vs rat poop lie in their size, shape, and color. Rat poop is both longer and thicker than squirrel poop. However, the two are relatively close in size, so it may seem similar to the untrained eye.
Squirrel poop is rounded at the edges, but rat poop is tapered at both edges. Thus, it’s easy to look at the shape of the feces to determine the differences between animals.
Lastly, rat poop is primarily dark brown or black. Although squirrel poop is also brown, it’s usually lighter owing to their diet. Also, squirrel poop can come in a variety of colors including lighter brown along with green and tan pellets.
These are the most significant differences between the two animals’ droppings. However, we can add more distinguishing features to our list of unique elements of their poop to determine which animal left the droppings with greater accuracy.
Squirrel Poop vs Rat Poop: Size
Rat poop is larger and thicker than squirrel poop. The majority of rat pellets are about ½ inch to ¾ inch long, and they have about ¼ inch in diameter. Squirrel poop is slightly smaller, at 3/8 inch long and 1/8 inch in diameter.
Both of their pellets are about the size of a raisin but don’t mistake this size comparison for the shape of the two different pellets.
Squirrel Poop vs Rat Poop: Shape
Squirrel poop is rounded on both ends, but rat poop is tapered on both ends. The result is that a squirrel’s droppings will often resemble a coffee bean since both sides of it are rounded off instead of indented or pinched.
Rat poop has tapered edges and a bulging middle. That’s why we often draw the comparison between rat poop and raisins. The difference in shape between rat poop and squirrel poop is such that it can be one of the most significant ways to identify pellets that are left in one’s home.
Squirrel Poop vs Rat Poop: Appearance
Squirrel poop dries and becomes different colors, but rat poop stays the same color unless it’s very old. Both rat poop and squirrel poop are shiny when it is fresh, but rat poop dries and stays roughly the same color as it was when it was first laid.
Squirrel poop dries and changes colors. Although it might start as a brown color, the poop can fade into brownish-red or even tan and green. Not only can you determine if you have fresh feces in your home, but you can use this information to determine which animal has been in your house.
Squirrel Poop vs Rat Poop: Amount
Squirrels leave more poop behind than rats. When squirrels defecate, they leave behind piles of several pellets that usually number fewer than a dozen. Squirrels are unique in that they leave their feces in the same area over time. That means that large piles of feces can build up in an area, but that is not the case with rats.
Rats poop while they are walking, so that usually means their feces are strewn about rather than neatly collected into piles. That doesn’t mean you’ll only find a small number of rat feces in an area, though. In fact, the pellets will be spread over a rather large area. Although your first reaction may be to assume you have a massive infestation, the fact remains that a few rats can spread a mess over a large area.
Squirrel Poop vs Rat Poop: Color
Squirrel poop is usually brown, brown with hues of a reddish color, tan, and green while rat poop is dark brown or black. The diets of these animals play a big role in the color of the feces that they produce.
Another point of interest that we have already mentioned is that squirrel feces will change colors when they dry. That is not the case with rats, though. Thus, if you happen across fresh feces and can’t tell the difference based on shape alone, or you merely want to confirm your suspicions, let it dry. The squirrel pellets will rarely remain the same color after some time has passed since they were produced.
With this information in hand, you’ll know how to tell the difference between squirrel poop vs rat poop. Remember that the most important identifying markers are size, shape, color, and amount. By knowing what their poop looks like and how they leave it strewn about your home, you can figure out which animal is causing the mess
From that point forward, it’s only a simple matter of learning how to get rid of those pests from your house!
How Do You Tell Mouse Poop and Rat Poop Apart?
In general, a mouse scat is a compact, small pellet with tapered ends similar to a grain of rice, and is dark brown or black in color. Rat poop is more sausage-like in shape. Mouse pellets are smaller than a rat’s, ranging from ½ to ¼ inches in length. Their droppings have a sharp, musky smell that is strong in areas where the droppings abound.
Mice poop 1-2 times a day, with the amount based on what they consumed. While mice may leave 80-160 droppings in a single day, rats drop less, with an average of 40-55 droppings. Mice eat a variety of things so the amount of poop they deliver can vary based on their diet. If its diet is high in fiber, it will dispel larger bowel movements. A protein-based diet will equate to less waste at a lower frequency. While both rats and mice drop scat as they wander, mice droppings are usually more concentrated in an area they have designated as their “toilet.” They don’t like to defecate near where they sleep or feed.
Mouse poop can carry bacteria and viruses that are harmful to pets or humans such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Hantavirus, so it’s important to clean up any droppings you may find in your house and disinfect the area.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Savageslc
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.