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When it comes to pests in our homes, rodents like rats and squirrels are among the most common culprits. Not only are they annoying, but they can also pose health risks to us and our families. One way to identify which rodent has invaded your space is by examining their droppings. In this article, we will explore the differences between rat poop and squirrel poop, including their appearance, health risks, and how to clean and prevent them from taking over your home.

Appearance Differences Between Squirrels and Rats

Before we delve into the specific characteristics of rat and squirrel poop, it’s important to understand the overall differences in appearance between these two rodents.


Rat droppings are typically larger in size compared to squirrel droppings. On average, rat poop measures around 0.5 to 0.75 inches in length, while squirrel poop tends to be smaller, ranging between 0.25 to 0.5 inches.


The shape of their droppings also differs. Rat poop is usually cylindrical in shape with tapered ends, resembling a small grain of rice. On the other hand, squirrel poop is more elongated and slightly curved, resembling a small tube.


Color can be another distinguishing factor. Rat droppings are dark brown or black in color, while squirrel droppings are usually dark brown or reddish-brown.

Identifying Squirrel Poop vs Rat Poop

What Does Squirrel Poop Look Like?

Squirrel droppings are typically small, cylindrical pellets. They are about the size of a raisin and have rounded edges. The color of squirrel poop can vary depending on their diet, but it is usually dark brown or reddish-brown.

What Does Rat Poop Look Like?

Rat droppings are larger and have a more cylindrical shape. They have tapered ends and are usually dark brown or black in color.

How to Tell the Difference Between the Two

While there are some general differences in appearance, it can still be challenging to differentiate between rat poop and squirrel poop. One way to determine whether you have a rat or squirrel infestation is by examining the location where you found the droppings. Rats tend to leave their droppings in concentrated areas, while squirrels scatter theirs more randomly. Additionally, if you notice chew marks or gnawed items, it is more likely that you have rats in your home rather than squirrels.

Health Risks of Rat Poop

Rat droppings can carry various diseases and pose health risks to humans. It’s crucial to take the necessary precautions when dealing with rat infestations and their feces.


Rats can transmit salmonellosis through their droppings. This bacterial infection can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and vomiting.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

Hantavirus can be contracted by inhaling dust particles contaminated with rat droppings, urine, or saliva. This virus can cause severe respiratory issues and, in some cases, can be fatal.


Rat droppings can also carry the bacteria that causes leptospirosis. This disease can lead to symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, and in severe cases, kidney and liver damage.

Rat-Bite Fever

Rat-bite fever is transmitted through bites or scratches from rats, but it can also be contracted by handling their droppings or urine. This disease can cause flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills, joint pain, and rash.

Allergic Reactions

Some individuals may develop allergies to rat droppings, leading to symptoms such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and respiratory issues.

Health Risks of Squirrel Poop

While not as common as rat infestations, squirrel droppings also carry certain health risks that should not be overlooked.


Squirrel droppings can contain coccidia, a microscopic parasite that can cause gastrointestinal issues in humans, including diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Roundworm Infections

Squirrel poop may also contain roundworm eggs. If accidentally ingested, these eggs can hatch inside the human body and cause a variety of symptoms, including nausea, fatigue, liver enlargement, and even blindness.

Allergic Reactions

Similar to rat droppings, some individuals may develop allergies to squirrel droppings, leading to allergic reactions such as sneezing, itching, and respiratory distress.


Squirrels can carry salmonella bacteria, and their droppings can serve as a source of contamination. Ingesting food or water contaminated with squirrel poop can lead to salmonellosis.

Fungal Infections

In rare cases, exposure to squirrel droppings can cause fungal infections, such as histoplasmosis, which can affect the respiratory system and lead to symptoms similar to pneumonia.

Cleaning Rat and Squirrel Droppings

If you discover rat or squirrel droppings in your home, it’s crucial to clean them up properly to prevent the spread of diseases.

Safety Precautions

Before starting the cleaning process, make sure to wear protective gear such as gloves, a mask, and goggles to minimize your exposure to the droppings and any potential pathogens.

Proper Cleanup Procedures

First, dampen the droppings with a disinfectant or bleach solution to prevent the release of harmful particles into the air. Next, carefully remove the droppings using disposable gloves and place them in a sealed bag. Clean the area thoroughly with a disinfectant, paying attention to any surfaces or objects that may have come into contact with the droppings.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you are dealing with a large infestation or are unsure about how to properly clean up the droppings, it’s best to seek professional help. Pest control experts can assess the situation, safely remove the droppings, and provide guidance on preventing future infestations.

Prevention Tips to Deter Unwanted Rodent Activity

Preventing rodent infestations is crucial for maintaining a healthy and pest-free home environment. Here are some tips to help deter rats and squirrels:

Sealing Entry Points

Inspect your home for any gaps or openings that rats or squirrels could use to gain entry. Seal these openings using materials such as caulk, steel wool, or wire mesh to prevent them from accessing your home.

Removing Food Sources

Keep your surroundings clean and minimize outdoor food sources that could attract rodents. Store food in sealed containers, clean up any spills or crumbs promptly, and ensure trash bins are securely closed.

Keeping Surrounding Areas Clean

Regularly clean up fallen fruits or nuts from trees, and remove any piles of debris or clutter that could provide hiding spots for rodents.


Distinguishing between rat and squirrel droppings is essential for identifying the type of infestation in your home. While they may appear similar at first glance, knowing the distinct characteristics and health risks associated with each can help you take the necessary steps to address and prevent future infestations. Remember, if you are unsure about dealing with droppings or have a significant infestation, it’s always best to seek professional assistance to ensure your health and safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are rat droppings more dangerous than squirrel droppings?

A: Both types of droppings carry health risks due to the potential presence of bacteria and parasites. It’s important to handle and clean up both rat and squirrel droppings with caution to minimize any potential health hazards.

Q: Can I get sick from inhaling rat or squirrel droppings?

A: Yes, inhaling dust particles contaminated with rat or squirrel droppings can lead to respiratory issues, allergic reactions, and the transmission of certain diseases. It’s crucial to wear protective gear when dealing with droppings and to clean and disinfect the area thoroughly.

Q: How can I prevent rats and squirrels from entering my home?

A: Seal any entry points, remove food sources, and keep the surrounding areas clean to discourage rodents from being attracted to your home. Regular inspections and maintenance can help prevent infestations.

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