Although the appearance of animal droppings is in no way pleasant subject matter to anyone, it often is important. If you're trying to figure out whether the droppings you notice inside or outside of your home are from squirrels or rats, some key factors can help you make your determination.
Squirrel and rat droppings are similar at quick glance. Color can be useful in helping you figure out which rodents are in your presence. For the most part, squirrel feces is paler than that of rats -- likely because their food intake is nowhere near as diverse as the latter. Opportunistic rats' stools are usually markedly darker and blackish. Squirrel stool is often brownish or red.
Shape differences can also help you distinguish between both animals' droppings. Feces from squirrels usually has a somewhat barrel-like shape. It also is typically bigger than that of rats, although not by much. The texture also seems to be even and level on the surface. Rat droppings, on the other hand, tend to be a little more oblong and rectangular. Both animals' stool matter is often compared to raisins, in outline and size alike.
One useful clue in telling rat and squirrel feces apart involves the edges of the stools. Rat droppings often are pointy on the sides and much thicker in the middle. Squirrel droppings usually have softer, more circular sides.
Squirrel droppings, unlike rat droppings, usually appear in clusters in certain spots. It's not common to see squirrel droppings all over the place -- they are, for the most part, much more discreet. Rats are nothing like squirrels in that their droppings often seem to be strewn everywhere. One thing is certain in both types of animals -- and that's quantity of droppings. Rodents on the whole pass stools with a lot of frequency. They do a lot of chewing, and frequent elimination is just a natural result of that.
- Tracking & the Art of Seeing; Paul Rezendes
- Maine.gov: Got Pests?
- Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife: Rats
- Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife: Tree Squirrels
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