Pest Resources

Rat Poop vs Mouse Poop

Rat Poop vs Mouse Poop - Which Rodent do you have?

Have you just discovered some unknown poop in your house?

Are you wondering which animal it came from? 

When it comes to pest management, the first step should always be inspection. This discovery stage allows you to determine which pest you’re dealing with.

Before we start, there are two common types of rats in North America: the Norway rat (brown rat) and the roof rat.

Roof rats tend to have black, gray, or brown fur and a naked tail that is the length of their body. They are smaller in size compared to Norway rats, but have larger ears.

Important: Rodent droppings contain pathogens that are potentially harmful to humans. The Centers for  Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests careful disposal of excrement. 

Be cautious before getting rid of the feces, use gloves and a face mask to pick it up then dispose of. Rodent feces is known to spread diseases to humans, so make sure you take extra precautions.

What does Rat poop look like?

How big is rat poop? It depends on the species and the age of the rodent. Norway rat feces is normally between 14-20mm in length, while the poo of the average roof rat is between 7-14mm in length.

It can be easy to tell the difference between rat poop and mouse poop; one dead giveaway is the size of the poo.

How often do rats poop?

Each adult rat is capable of leaving up to 60 droppings per 24 hours. The amount of poo can be a good indicator to help estimate how severe the infestation is. The more poo normally means more rodents.

Rodent Poop Shape

Roof rat feces is slightly smaller than the Norway rat poo, but has the same chunky shape. One main difference is that the feces from the Norway rat has rounded ends, while the poo from the roof rat is pointed.

Rat poop vs Mouse poop

Rat poop vs Mouse poop

Mice are much smaller than rats in size, so their droppings tend to be less than 1/4 inch long. Rat feces are a little bit large, normally around 1/3 inch in length.

Rodent poop often contains hair, this is because rodents swallow clunks of hair as they groom themselves.

Differences between Rat Poop and Mouse Poop

  • Rats can produce 40 to 50 pellets per day, whereas mice leave up to 75
  • Rat droppings are chunkier and much larger than mouse poop
  • Roof rat droppings are between 7-14mm and Norway rat droppings are 14-20mm long.
  • Norway rat droppings have rounded ends, while roof rats and mouse droppings are pointed

Pictures of Rat poop

Diseases caused by Rat droppings

There are several known diseases transmitted through rodents. The most well known disease spread through rat feces is Hantavirus. Hantavirus is a problem, as you don’t have to touch the rat or droppings to be at risk from the disease. Rodent feces will decay over time, causing the droppings to break down into a powder.

If this powder is disturbed by vacuuming or sweeping, then you risk inhaling this powder which could lead to Hantavirus.

It isn’t just Hantavirus that’s a threat to people. There are also several other diseases caused by rodents. It’s worth checking the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Is Rat poop toxic?

Rodent feces are dangerous to humans. Caution should be advised when rat poop is found within your property. Ensure you’re wearing the correct safety equipment. However, if you’re anxious, we recommend calling a pest control expert immediately.

Not only is rat feces toxic, but also rat urine left behind from rodents could contain Leptospirosis, which is a deadly infection. 

How to clean up rat poop

Before removing rodent poop from your home, ventilate the area by opening doors and windows near where you found the pellets. Allow up to an hour for fresh air to flow into the space before starting to clean.

Some people recommend using a vacuum at this stage, however we would advise against this. Using a vacuum or broom could stir up any dust that you could inhale.

Rodent feces disposal

  • Wear latex gloves
  • Spray the rat feces with either a disinfectant or a combination of bleach and water and let soak for 5 minutes.
  • Use a paper towel to collect the rat poop, and dispose of the droppings in the trash.
  • Once the rodent poop has been disposed of, proceed to disinfect any items that may have been contaminated.

Clean the area

  • Using disinfectant or bleach, proceed to mop and clean the area where the droppings were found
  • Using a shampoo solution and a steamer, clean your furniture and carpets which may have been contaminated
  • Wash bedding and clothing with detergent in hot water if contaminated by rodent urine or poop
  • Finally, discard gloves and throw in the garbage. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer.
Wrap it up

Always wear the correct safety equipment when approaching any infestation or animal feces, especially rodent poo. 

The face mask is to ensure you do not inhale the droppings, which can pose a serious health risk.

If you are worried about the health risks surrounding your pest problem. We always recommend seeking the help of a professional.  

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each pest control method, product and process. Each pest resource we list on our website goes through an in-depth fact checking process.

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