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Do mice and rats coexist?

Rats and mice have lived alongside humans for centuries, relying on us for food, water, shelter, warmth and nesting materials. But do mice and rats coexist in the same spaces?

If you’re spotting signs of an infestation, you might be wondering whether it’s mice, rats or both that are causing the problem. Read on, and we’ll help you to identify the culprits…as well as answer the question, “Do mice and rats live together?”

The Unlikely Coexistence of Mice and Rats

Both rodents. Both pests. rats and mice can often be mistaken for one another. The truth is, there are some major differences between the two.

Rats are usually much bigger than mice, with ears that are proportionally smaller in size. Rat tails are fatter and darker, and their eyes are smaller and narrower. Both rodents can be found nesting and scavenging in homes and commercial premises alike…but generally not together.

The truth is, that both rats and mice are highly territorial: they just won’t tolerate another species in their space, competing for the same food, water and nesting spaces. For both to survive in the same place, they’d need an enormous supply of food and water – and that’s not something that’s easy to find.

Rats give off a scent that can be detected by mice and vice versa. If a mouse smells a rat nearby, it’s likely to relocate sharpish: rats can be aggressive when they sense their territory is under threat and can even kill mice.

If you’ve seen what you believe to be both mice and rats in your home, it’s likely that you’ve actually spotted both adults and young of the same species or two different species of mouse/rat. Their behaviour can help to identify which you’re dealing with.

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Behavioural Differences Between Mice and Rats

Behaviourally, rats and mice are very different.

Mice are curious by nature, exploring new surroundings. Rats tend to be more cautious, always sticking to the same routes. Rats are strong swimmers, giving them access to new places through drains, pipes and sewers. Mice are not. Rats also need a more plentiful supply of drinking water than mice, so will nest somewhere this can easily be accessed.

Mice tend to nest in hidden places that are close to food sources, like kitchens or rubbish bins, whereas rats can nest further from food.

These behaviour traits might help you identify which type of rodent is in your property – but there are also other things that can help…

Identifying Mice and Rat Infestations

Here’s a checklist of signs that you may need to call in rodent pest control services:


  • Sightings: Spotting a mouse or rat on your property suggests that they’ve made it their home. Mice are smaller than rats with proportionally larger ears, hairy rather than hairless tails, and pointed faces.
  • Droppings: Mouse droppings are around 3-8mm long and dark in colour – and they can be found anywhere in your house. Rat droppings are significantly bigger (up to 2cm) and you’ll find them more grouped together in particular spots, like in attics, or behind furniture and storage boxes.
  • Noise: Scratching sounds can be caused by both species: in attics, in partition walls or under floorboards.
  • Damage: Bigger teeth marks on wooden elements of your property are likely caused by rats – smaller, scratchier marks are often caused by mice.


Other signs of rodent infestations include greasy marks caused by the oils in their fur, or an ammonia smell in your property (from their urine). Once you’ve spotted signs of mice or rats, call in rodent pest control: as well as causing damage to your property, there are potentially huge health risks involved in living alongside these creatures.

Health Risks Associated with Mice and Rats

Both rats and mice can carry all sorts of nasties that can make humans and animals alike incredibly sick. They’ll often carry various bacteria, worms, viruses and protozoa that can cause anything from fever or an upset stomach to organ failure or respiratory problems. They can also carry fleas, ticks, mites, and lice, which carry their own diseases that can be transmitted to humans.

Lyme disease, salmonellosis, hantavirus, leptospirosis, Weil’s disease and tapeworms are just a few of the issues that rats and mice can bring with them. If you want to stay healthy and safe, you’ll need to deal with the problem ASAP – and that’s where rodent pest control comes in.

Effective Rodent Pest Control Strategies

Before you decide which rodent pest control method to use, you’ll need to know whether it’s rats or mice you’re dealing with. Rats are timid by nature so they’re unlikely to go near anything new, like traps. It’s also unlikely that they’ll touch poison unless it’s on their normal route through their property – so you’ll need to understand their behaviour first.

Even mice have learned to avoid certain pest control methods…and even if you manage to catch one, it’s likely there are still plenty more in the nest.

No matter whether it’s a residential or commercial rodent pest control issue you’re dealing with, you’ll also want to consider the toxicity. You can buy rat and mouse poison off the shelf, but you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t cause harm to the residents of your building – or, if you’re a business, your staff or customers.

To guarantee the problem’s been resolved for good – and in the safest way possible for all concerned – professional rodent pest control services are your best bet.

Professional Solutions by Pest Stop Boys

Do mice and rats coexist? No, they don’t – and neither need to exist on your premises when you call Pest Stop Boys! Our highly praised, industry-accredited rodent pest control services are tailored to each individual customer, meaning you’ll know you’ll get the best solution for YOU.

Our discreet services include identifying the type of rodent that’s causing problems, as well as finding their nesting sites. We’ll choose the most appropriate treatment for the location and the size of the infestation (also bearing the wellbeing of the building’s occupants in mind), choosing non-toxic solutions where we can. After exterminating the rodents, we’ll mouse/rat-proof your property to reduce the likelihood of them returning – as well as give you our top tips for banishing them for good.

Want to find out more? Drop us a line.