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Wednesday, 22 March 2023

What's The Difference Between a Rat and a Mouse?

Have you ever been walking down the street and seen a rodent sneak up on you? Rats and mice are two of the most common types of rodents, but there is an important difference between them. Understanding how to tell them apart can help you know what type of pest may be hiding in your home or yard. In this article, we explain the differences between rats and mice so that you can easily identify one or the other.

How Can You Tell A Mouse From A Rat?

It can be difficult to tell the difference between a rat and a mouse, as they are both rodents. However, there are some key differences that allow us to differentiate them. For example, rats tend to produce much larger droppings than mice. Also, the body size of an adult rat is generally bigger than an adult mouse and a mouse's tail is generally longer.

Size And Weight

House mice are much smaller than rats. Mouse droppings also tend to be much smaller than that of rats. Female mice generally weigh around 1/2 ounce, while female rats typically weigh between 3 and 4 ounces. Additionally, some small species of rats can measure up to six inches long, while house mice are usually only two or three inches long at most.


Rats tend to be larger than common mouse species, with a heavier body structure and a spindle shape tail that can often be very hairy, thick, and short. In addition, rats have larger eyes and ears that protrude more prominently from the head. In contrast, domestic mice are generally smaller and have thin tails covered in tiny scales.


The behaviors of rats and mice can differ significantly in several ways. Rats are typically much larger and more social animals than mice, meaning they interact with one another and form relationships while mice prefer to keep to themselves. Additionally, rats are more likely to explore and learn, while mice are often afraid of unfamiliar places and stick close to home. Rats generally have longer lifespans and consume more food than mice. Therefore, when observing the behavior of these two species, it is important to keep in mind their differences.


Rats tend to cause more damage than mice because they are larger and more destructive. They eat through walls, chew on wires, and gnaw on furniture and other items. They can also spread diseases such as salmonella and rat-bite fever. Mice, on the other hand, mostly do minimal damage like chewing small holes in food packaging and gnawing on soft materials around the house. Additionally, mice frequently carry parasites into homes that can be harmful to humans and pets.

Health Problems

Both rats and mice carry many diseases that can be harmful to humans, including hantavirus, salmonellosis, leptospirosis, rat-bite fever and plague. In addition to these diseases carried by both species, rats are more likely to spread murine typhus fever compared to mice. On top of the diseases they might spread, their droppings and nests can trigger allergies in humans.

Eating Habits

Rats typically consume more food than mice and have a larger litter of up to twelve pups compared to only five for mice. As adults, their diet preferences vary slightly. Both rodents are omnivores and survive on a variety of food sources like pet food, grains, fruits, vegetables, insects, and other small animals. Mice tend to like fruits and grains, while rats generally prefer protein-rich foods as their primary source of nutrition.

How much does it cost to exterminate mice?

How Do You Tell If There Is A Rodent In Your House?

Rats typically live outside in burrows, whereas mice like cozy spaces indoors and prefer to nest inside walls or furniture. Although rats are larger than mice, their droppings tend to look similar. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention for signs of either when investigating a possible rodent problem. The most common signs are gnawing on household items such as wires and wood beams, fruit scraps around corners of rooms or kitchens, and bait stations near doors where rodents can enter your home in search of food.

When dealing with a rodent infestation, you should look for signs that distinguish the two species. Rats tend to leave behind inedible items such as paper and cloth, while mice prefer more active burrows and runs due to their smaller, blunter snout. The presence of a urine odor is usually associated with rats, while a musty odor is more likely to indicate a mouse problem.

How to Tell if You Have Mice or Rats?

Mice and rats can not only create distractions for inhabitants of buildings, but they often leave behind a trail of bits of food and excrement that can cause health problems. Here’s a guide on how to easily tell if you have mice or rats in your home or office:

  • Check where you see the animal: you won't catch a mouse or rat right away as they are excellent at hiding and darting off quickly when disturbed. However, it’s important to spend some time observing where you spot these animals to help identify what type of rodent you are dealing with. You should look at their size (ats are larger than mice) and check their fur (mice have soft fur, whereas rats tend to have scruffy-looking hair).

  • Check their droppings: both mice and rats leave droppings wherever they go. However, there are subtle differences between the droppings of each animal which can help you verify which one is occupying your space. Mouse droppings typically measure 3-5mm in length while those from rats can achieve lengths upwards of 12 mm and are usually much wider.

  • Listen for noise: mice generally don’t make noises frequently or consistently whereas rats make much more audible noise throughout the day due to various stimuli such as predators/avid eaters like cats/dogs passing by, noises outside and even light change. If they feel threatened, they will definitely squeak a warning call and scamper out as fast as possible. If you hear scratching or squeaking noises that persist even after shutting off the lights and covering the windows then chances are high there’s something bigger than just a mouse inside your home..

  • Examine the damage left behind: One surefire way to tell if you have mice or rats is by looking around the area where they were spotted to see what kind of damage has been done indoors and outdoors. Mice leave behind discolored holes and chewed up wires alongside anything else edible like furniture stuffing/food wrappers, etc. Rat marks tend to intertwine chewed up items with gnaw marks as big as a grape size or larger along walls near baseboards… these guys love creating pathways.

Rat And Mice Extermination Services

Rat and mice extermination services are essential if you are dealing with a rodent infestation because they can transmit diseases to pets and animals as well as cause structural damage to your property. V Extermination specializes in exterminating different types of species in residential, commercial and agricultural settings. We also offer extermination packages to ensure your peace of mind all year long.

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