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Squirrel Poop vs. Rat Poop

squirrel poop vs rat poop

Squirrels and rats are commonly found all over the world, causing damage to homes and properties. As they infest places, they leave behind poop that can spread diseases. Before getting rid of these pests and their feces, you must know how to tell the difference between squirrel poop vs rat poop.

Read on to learn how to identify which creature you are dealing with by identifying their poop and other evidence of their presence.

Squirrel Poop Vs. Rat Poop

This table quickly looks at the identifying features of squirrel and rat poop.

    Squirrel Poop Features

  • Oblong pellets with rounded ends
  • Smooth and barrel-shaped
  • Appear shiny and dark when fresh, but lighten in color as they dry to light brown or white
  • Typically leave feces in attics, chimneys, garages, sheds, around tree trunks, and in the yard
  • Leave piles of excrement, defecating less than 12 pellets each time

    Rat Poop Features

  • Oblong pellets with tapered ends
  • Resembles raisins
  • Appear shiny and dark in color when fresh, and remain dark in color once dried
  • Typically leave feces in basements, attics, kitchen cupboards, garages, sheds, along baseboards, behind refrigerators, and in the yard
  • Poop as they walk, leaving scattered trails of 40 to 50 droppings

Read on to learn more about squirrel poop vs rat poop, other ways to figure out which one is invading, and how to get rid of them and their feces.

How To Identify Squirrel Poop vs Rat Poop / Droppings: Side by Side Comparison

Squirrel Poop vs Rat Poop Similarities

The feces from squirrels and rats have some similarities at first glance. These similarities can be confusing to a person when determining which pest is invading.

1. Shape
Squirrel and rat droppings are both cylindrical and oblong-shaped, but the ends of the droppings differ (more on that below).

2. Color Of Fresh Droppings
The important note is that fresh droppings from squirrels and rats are dark and appear shiny brown or black.

3. Found In Attics And Yards
Both squirrel and rat feces can be found in homes. They may feed, store food, or nest in your attic or crawl space.

These pests will defecate in the same space when they live in homes.

4. Carry Diseases
Squirrel and rat feces can carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella and leptospirosis. These cause diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.

Rat feces also carries the risk of exposure to hantavirus, which can cause fatal respiratory failure or shock in severe cases.

Squirrel Poop vs Rat Poop Differences

The differences between squirrel and rat defecation are slight but significant. Knowing these will help you determine which pest is on your property.

1. Shape of Ends
The ends of squirrel and rat feces are typically different.

Squirrel poop is rounded at both ends, while rat poop is tapered. Rat poop may also have a hair-like protrusion from one or both ends.

2. Surface Texture
Rat poop often resembles raisins with an uneven surface texture and a slightly bulging middle. In contrast, squirrel feces can look like smoother barrel-shaped pellets.

3. Size
At a glance, feces from both animals can appear the same size, however, rat poop is slightly longer and thicker than squirrel poop.

For average-size rats, the droppings range from ½-inch to ¾-inch in length, with a diameter of ¼-inch.

Squirrel droppings are around ⅜-inch in length with a ⅛-inch diameter.

However, if it is a smaller rat, its poop may also be smaller, thus causing more confusion about what it is.

There are better approaches than using size to determine which animal it came from since it is unlikely you have gathered samples from both animals to compare.

4. Amount
On average, rats excrete 40 to 50 droppings daily. Squirrels typically excrete less than 12 pellets.

Since both creatures may be infesting your property for a while, feces can build up. However, this means that some of it likely has dried, which can help you better identify the feces by color.

5. Distribution
Squirrels create small piles of pellets each time they defecate. Over time, these piles grow in size since they leave their feces generally in the same area.

On the other hand, rats defecate while they walk. Their feces are left behind in trails along areas that they visit. It can seem like there’s a rat infestation with the widespread scattering of their feces. However, it only takes one to make a considerable mess.

While rats and squirrels can invade attics, they also find their way into basements and kitchen cupboards.

Alternate Ways To Identify Squirrel Or Rat Presence

If you are still trying to decide whether or not a squirrel or rat is leaving excrement in your home or yard, you can look for other defining characteristics.

Nesting

Both animals will enter homes for nesting.

Squirrels build nests in attics, roof gaps, and walls using insulation and natural materials. A typical squirrel’s nest has a diameter of 6 to 8 inches.

Rats’ nests can be found in wall voids, attics, and basements. Their loosely-woven nests tend to use more artificial debris. They shred wall insulation, cardboard, and other soft materials to build nests 4 to 6 inches in diameter.

Time of Day

If you hear scurrying in the walls or attic, take note of when you hear it.

Rats are nocturnal, active at night when the threat of predators is low. However, rats will adapt to human activity. They can be found out and about during the day while people are away at school or work.

Most squirrels are diurnal, actively foraging in the morning and returning to their nests at night. Sounds can be heard as they re-enter the home to feed offspring and settle into a warm and secure place to rest at night.

Tracks

You can identify the offending creature if you can find tracks in dust, mud, or snow.

Squirrels bound, leaving inconsistent gaps between prints. Their back toes are longer, and back prints are seen with the front prints as they leap.

Rats leave trails with their dragging tails and little prints that move linearly. Due to their poor eyesight, they tend to run along walls and leave prints and oily smudges from their fur on surfaces.

Damage

Both rats and squirrels chew to file down their ever-growing incisors.

Squirrels will chew through building materials to access an attic, chew electrical wires, chew tree bark, and steal food from gardens.

Rats also chew electrical wires, shred insulation material, and eat through food boxes in the kitchen cupboard.

Other Poop Possibilities

Unfortunately, other animals, such as bats or raccoons, leave droppings that look similar to squirrels’ or rats’ excrement. Thankfully, their poop has characteristics to help determine the source.

For example, bats leave a pile of droppings underneath their roosting spots. Raccoons will defecate in one spot, such as the base of trees, or on horizontal surfaces, such as attic floors.

Conclusion

The best way to determine if poop comes from a squirrel or rat is to look at the shape and color.

Squirrel poop is pellet-shaped with rounded ends that lighten in color as it dries. Rat poop looks like raisins with tapered ends that remain dark in color when dry.

Other things to look for include where the droppings are located and how they are scattered. Squirrels defecate in small piles, and rats leave more significant amounts scattered or along edges in trails.

Any animal feces should be handled with precautions to avoid disease and illness.

Steps should be taken to eliminate the waste and the pests to prevent future infestations.

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