The thing about small rodents is that they all scurry so quickly you barely have time to identify them. When you call pest control services, it is helpful to have this information. A mouse can be trapped by the usual means, but other scurrying rodents and rodent-like creatures cannot. Here are some helpful tips for identifying your "rodent."
Small, Gray, and Moves Slower
If you are looking at something that's a little softer and fluffier, with no tail and a longer snout with whiskers and that has what looks like flippers on the front feet, you have a mole. While moles usually help gardens by eating bugs and churning up the dirt as they dig, they also unwittingly cause damage to your plants when their "gardening" takes them smack into the roots. Sadly, moles have to be exterminated rather than caught, as they rarely make their way to the surface.
Tiny, Black, and Moves Fast
Shrews are often mistaken for mice. This is because they are small, black-furred, and scurry just as quick as a mouse. The feature that sets them apart is their tails. Shrews have short, stubby tails that are almost non-existent, while mice will have a long tail (unless it was damaged and chewed off). Shrews are also much smaller than mice, but they do not do any lawn or plant damage because they eat only insects. They are not rodents. If you have a shrew, you should leave it alone because it will not come indoors or bother anything in your yard.
Smaller Than a Mouse but Fatter
A stouter creature with smaller ears and smaller eyes is a vole. Voles are definitely pests because they create "vole highways" through the grass in your yard. You can always tell you have a vole problem in the spring because these critters have been busy tunneling through the snow and creating trails in the dead lawn all winter. They scurry very quickly, but their paler, brownish-gray color and stocky appearance sets them apart from mice. Pest control services will tell you quite often that you have a vole problem, since these creatures will go wherever they can find food and shelter.
Gray or Brown, Long Tails, Big Ears
When you think mice, think of the cartoon mice in Tom and Jerry. Mice are brown or gray, have really long tails, big ears, and long whiskers on their short, pointy noses. Mice will come indoors in winter, so if you see something scurrying in and out of your home around the foundation late in fall, you have a mouse. Mice are not that bright and can be trapped or poisoned. Your pest control expert will give you the option of how to eliminate this problem.