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How to Tell the Difference Between Squirrels and Rats 

People often compare squirrels to rats. Understanding the difference between the two species can help identify what type of infestation you have. Here is how you can tell the difference: 

  • Appearance: On average, squirrels are larger than rats. Squirrels have thick, bushy tails, whereas rat tails are thin and hairless. 

  • Nesting Habits: Both species can live indoors, but squirrels are more likely to build their nests in trees. Rats also nest outdoors, but they prefer to raise their young in wall voids or basements.  

  • Diet: Squirrels forage for nuts, seeds, and flowers. Rats will eat everything from pantry goods to garbage. 

Squirrel Poop vs. Rat Poop 

Homeowners can use feces to tell the difference between a squirrel and a rat infestation. While both types of droppings can be dark brown to black in color with blunted ends, they are found in different places around the home. 

People often find squirrel scat in attics or around tree trunks. Rat droppings often appear along baseboards, in cupboards, and behind refrigerators or washing machines. 

Squirrel vs. Rat Damage 

Squirrels do most of their damage outside. While they are capable of causing significant damage to home and business interiors, squirrels are more likely to dig holes in yards, strip bark from trees, and steal from gardens. Squirrels also are capable of spreading disease to people and pets, including serious illnesses like Lyme disease. 

Rats do most of their damage inside. Rat waste can contaminate pantries, ruin personal property, and carry disease, including rat-bite fever, plague, and food poisoning. 

Squirrel Infestation & Removal 

Squirrels and rats both pose serious threats to homes, businesses, and the people and pets within. You should never attempt to remove either species without professional guidance. Rats and squirrels require separate solutions, and any infestations should be approached with the most advanced removal techniques. Contact our technicians at Critter Control if you believe you have a rat or squirrel infestation.  


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