The head of a gray Dumbo rat on a white background, she sits in a clay plate and looks out, putting her front paws on the edge.

How To Identify Rat and Mouse Sounds

Mice and rats are common home invaders that can cause significant damage and health hazards if left unchecked. One of the most effective ways to identify their presence is by listening to their sounds.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the different types of sounds mice and rats can make so that you can know when to take action.

Key Pest Points:

•  Mice and rats make different noises ranging from squeaking, scratching, and gnawing.
•  They make ultrasonic sounds that are too high-pitched for humans to hear.
•  Mice and rats are nocturnal, so you may hear them most loudly at night when they are active.

Ways Mice and Rats Communicate

Mice and rats are social animals that use different methods to communicate with each other. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Vocalizations: Mice and rats make various sounds to communicate with each other. These include squeaks, chirps, and even ultrasonic noises humans can not hear. These noises signal danger, find a mate, or claim territory.
  • Body language: Mice and rats also communicate through their body language. They use facial expressions to respond to stress and pain. They will also use their whiskers to show dominance and pin down their opponent.
  • Scent markingMice use their urinary scent to mark their territory. By leaving their scent behind, they can communicate with other rodents and warn them of potential dangers.

If you find mice or rats in your home or business, knowing how they communicate can help you identify their presence and eliminate them.

What Makes Mice and Rats Unique from Other Rodents

Mice and rats belong to the family Muridae, which includes more than 1,383 species of rodents. However, not all rodents are the same. Here’s what makes mice and rats unique:

  • Size: Mice are usually smaller than rats and appear more delicate. Rats are larger and have a more robust appearance.
  • Tails: Mice have thin, hairless tails that are usually longer than their bodies. On the other hand, rats have tails covered in short hair that can range in size.

These unique physical characteristics can help you identify the rodent species in your home, which will help you figure out the best way to get rid of them.

Mice and Rat Sounds and Their Meanings

Mice and rats make various sounds, each with its own meaning. Here are some common sounds and their meanings:

  • Squeaking: Mice and rat noises include squeaking when scared or in pain. They also use this sound to communicate with each other.
  • Scratching: Rodents scratch and scuffle when building nests or searching for food.
  • Gnawing: You might hear mice and rats gnawing on things, such as electrical wires, walls, and floors. This sound indicates that they’re creating a home or trying to find food.
Closeup mouse gnaws wire in an apartment house on the background of the wall and electrical outlet.

Where Mice and Rats Can Hide in Your Home and Yard

It can be challenging to identify the exact mouse noises or rat sounds, but by paying attention to the context and frequency of the noise, you can usually figure out what kind of rodent is in your home.

Mice and rats can hide in various places in your home and yard. Here are some common areas to look for them:

  • Walls and ceilings: They can climb walls and hide in the space between the walls and ceilings. You may even hear mice in the walls to indicate their presence. 
  • Basements and attics: These areas are often damp and cluttered, providing an ideal environment for rodents.
  • Garages and sheds: These areas are often left open and can be an easy entry point for rodents.
  • Gardens and bushes: Mice and rats can hide in tall grass, shrubs, and bushes in your yard. The Norway rat can also burrow into the ground and make nests.

Finding where the rodents are hiding is one of the first steps to removing them. Once you know where they’re nesting, you can take the necessary steps to remove them and prevent future infestations.

Two brown rats foraging for food in a park on an autumn day.

Best Ways to Get Rid of Rodents from Your Home

Now that you know how to identify mice and rats and where they might be hiding, it’s time to discuss the best ways to get rid of them. Here are some effective methods:

  • Use poison: If you have a severe infestation, purchasing rodent poison may be necessary. However, it’s essential to use caution when using poison, as it can harm pets and children.
  • Seal entry points: Rodents can enter your home through small cracks and gaps. Seal entry points with caulk or steel wool to stop rodents from entering.
  • Keep your home clean: Rodents are attracted to food and clutter. Keep your home clean and tidy to prevent them from making a home in your space.
  • Use scent repellents: Certain scents, such as peppermint oil or ammonia, can help to repel rodents. You can purchase scent repellents for rodents or make your own with essential oils and water.
  • Call a professional: If you cannot remove rodents alone, call a professional exterminator. They have the experience and tools necessary to rid your home of rodents.

Whether you are trying to keep possums awayget rid of armadillos or any other pest, following the above techniques will help you fight the infestation.


What do mice and rats sound like at night?

Rodents can make various noises at night, including rat and mouse squeaking, chirping, scratching, and gnawing. These sounds are usually louder in the dark when there is less noise to mask them. You may even hear a mouse crying or rats biting on your walls when they are in distress. So, be aware of these noises that you may encounter. 

What time of night are rats active?

Rats and mice are active at night since they are nocturnal, mostly between half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise.

What attracts rats to your house?

Rats are attracted to your house for food, water, and shelter. Keeping your home clean and tidy can help prevent rats from making it their home. Additionally, sealing cracks or gaps in the walls and doors can help keep rodents out.

Why do mice squeak?

Mice squeak to communicate with each other, express fear or alarm, and signal they are in distress.

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