Differentiating Rat Poop vs Mouse Poop: Signs of Infestation

Rat poop and mouse poop are often confused with each other, but some features can help you tell them apart. Fecal matters from rats tend to be larger than their mouse counterparts, about ¼ inch in diameter. Fecal droppings from rats also have a long tail while mice have blunt ends on theirs. Rats leave their droppings more around the exterior of your home while mice prefer to stay inside.


These days, it is hard to tell if you have a rat or mouse infestation. Their poops can be very similar in appearance because both rats and mice have similar eating habits and the same foods - but there are key differences between rat and mouse droppings that can help you figure out the unwanted pests living in your home.

Rat Poop vs Mouse Poop 

Rats poop is much larger than mice poop. Rat feces are long, thin, and tubular while mice give stumpy droppings that look like little grains of rice or black pepper seeds. Rat poo can be as large as a half-inch in length; shorter if the animal eats mostly plants such as veggies.

Mice leave smaller deposits, only about a quarter-inch long. Rat droppings are also usually found in groups or clusters while mice feces tend to be spread out more across the floor.

Rat Droppings

Rat poop looks like mice poop, but there are ways in which you can tell the difference. Rat droppings tend to be slightly larger than mouse poops and they also have ridges on them that make it easy for you to identify whether what you’ve seen is a rat dropping rather than one from a mouse.

Rat feces are also dark brown in colour and have a stronger, more pungent smell than mice feces. Rat droppings are typically found near the nest or hole of rats rather than out in the open like mice tend to do with their poops. If you find dark smears along surfaces where rodents usually travel, then it is likely rat poop as well.


Mouse Droppings

Mice poop tends to be much smaller than rat droppings and they also have a smoother exterior. Mouse feces are frequently found in the open areas, away from where mice nests typically reside. If you find mouse droppings along surfaces that these rodents use as travel routes, then it is likely another small rodent such as a rat.

The rodent droppings are more frequently found near the nest and holes of rats while mouse feces can be located almost anywhere.

The rodent feces look like small round pellets – has pointed ends while the other is slightly flat. Rat droppings are usually found in groups or clusters while mouse feces tend to be spread out more across the floor.

Health Hazards of Rat Poop

Rat poop can contain dangerous parasites and diseases like rat lungworm, Rat Bite Fever (Streptobacillus moniliformis) which is transmitted through bites and scratches from infected animals, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) which can be contracted by inhaling dust particles contaminated with mice droppings and Salmonella bacteria.

Rat feces can also be a source of Eosinophilic Meningitis which is an infection of the thin membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord. Rat droppings may also cause Leptospirosis (Leptospira bacteria), another potential health hazard caused by rat poop exposure. Most of these parasites and diseases are transmitted through ingestion or inhalation; not contact.


Rat poop is also known to carry the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, a single-celled protozoan that causes toxoplasmosis in humans. Rat feces may also contain Rat-bite fever which is a bacterial disease transmitted through bites and scratches from the animals.

Health Hazards of Mouse Poop

Mouse poop does not carry any diseases that can be passed on to humans but are still considered pests as they contaminate food sources with their droppings, urine, and hair.

Signs of Mouse or Rat Infestation

Rat or mice droppings, rat and mouse gnaw marks on food containers, chew holes in bags of foodstuff are some signs that you have a rat or mice infestation. You may also find rat poop or mouse poop outside your home like near dumpsters.

Rat Gnaw Marks on Food Containers

Signs of a rat infestation include gnawed marks on cereal boxes, plastic bottles etc., bags and other household items made of paper such as cereal boxes, cracker packages, or food packaging. Rat gnaw marks look like clean semicircular cuts which are usually found on the edges of containers.


Mouse Gnaw Marks 

You might notice small round holes in bags and containers while you stored them away as mice love to chew through paper products for nesting materials and for gaining access to food sources. Mouse gnaw marks are round holes with rough jagged edges that can be found in a cluster pattern.

Rats or Mice Droppings 

Sightings of rat and mouse poop pellets throughout your home like near the kitchen or pantry areas. Rat droppings are usually found in group clusters while mouse feces tend to be spread out more across the floor.

What to Do When You Find Poop of Mice and Rats

Wear gloves and a mask to protect yourself while you clean the droppings from these unwanted visitors and dealing with a rodent infestation.

Discard Rat Poop and Clean the Area Thoroughly

Wear gloves before you pick up Rat poop or droppings with paper towels, disposable rubber gloves or a shovel to avoid direct contact. Pick it all up and double bag it in thick plastic bags for disposal. 

If there is an open wound on your hand, make sure you disinfect it thoroughly. You can also use gloves soaked in bleach solution for cleaning the area but be sure to wash your hands with soap and water afterwards.


What Not to Do If You Find Rat Poop in Your House 

Do not sweep it under the carpet as this will only attract other rodents like rats and mice. Also, do not vacuum it up because there is a risk of spreading diseases through dust particles.

To confirm the presence of mice or rats in your property, we recommend that you use the following traps:

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Victor Mouse Trap 2Pk Live Catch
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Tomcat Mouse Wood Traps 4-Pack