Rats and mice not only look different, but they also have different habitats, behaviors and food preferences. So it's no wonder that your methods for controlling rats should be different from those used for mice. The following takes a look at these differences and how they can affect your rodent control efforts.

Size Differences Can Foil Traps

It's easy to distinguish a rat from a mouse simply based on its size. Rats are not only longer than mice, but they're also much heavier. A typical adult mouse weighs in at around 30 grams, whereas an adult mouse tips the scales between 200 and 800 grams.

So it's no surprise that traps designed for mice often prove ineffective against heavier and larger rats. Even a sticky trap won't be able to hold a rat if the adhesive is designed for keeping lighter mice in place. Trap failures become commonplace when they're used against the wrong rodents. For this reason, it's crucial to consider the type and size of trap you plan on using when dealing with your rodent problem.

Behaviors Can Also Influence Trap Effectiveness

Behavioral differences between rats and mice can also determine the overall effectiveness of your rodent traps. Mice are often curious creatures that are eager to explore their surroundings and investigate new things. A trap laid directly in a known mouse path often proves too irresistible for mice to pass up, although they'll quickly learn to avoid danger.

Rats, on the other hand, are a bit more risk-adverse when it comes to their overall behavior. They'll usually avoid unfamiliar objects until they've had a few days to get used to their presence. To counter this behavior, it's a good idea to leave unset traps near an active path for a few days. This will give the rats enough time to get used to the traps being there. Afterwards, the traps can be activated and re-set in the same spots.

Bait Choices Also Matter

Rats and mice aren't exactly picky eaters. When push comes to shove, they'll eat just about anything. However, both types of rodents do have their own favorite foods to dine on. Mice typically prefer cereal grains, nuts, and oats. Most rats will also dine on cereal grains, but they also enjoy most fruits and vegetables and meats.  

Forget about using cheese as bait - rats and mice will only eat it if there's nothing else available. In addition to using the above foods, you can also bait your rat and mouse traps with peanut butter or chocolate - two foods that rodents can't help but be drawn to. When setting your baits, it's important to use only a small pea-sized amount - anything bigger will just allow rodents to steal the bait without setting off the trap.

For more information, contact a local rodent exterminator