Difference Between Mice And Rats: Why Does It Matter?

Not being able to tell what type of rodent scurries around your home isn’t the best. Especially not when you’re suspecting a likely case of infestation. Even though rats and mice have similar control methods, your best effort at eliminating either can be futile without an adequate understanding of the pests.

Amid the tricky alikeness, there are several subtle dissimilarities between these rodent species. Subsequently, we’ll be discussing some.

Differences Between Rats and Mice

When next you spot a rodent messing around in your apartment, watch for the following.

1. Physical Appearance

There are numerous species of rats and mice dispersed in different regions of the globe. However, there are common visible characteristics across the distribution. The prevalent species worldwide are the house mice, roof, and Norway rats.

House mice are considerably smaller than rats. Apart from their ears, they have small heads and feet with pointed snouts. Their hair may be brownish with a touch of grey and dark tails.

Roof rats have light and slimmer bodies. Their gray torsi have dark shading, and their large ears are without hair. Their droppings are spindle-like.

Adult Norway rats can weigh up to 500 grams. Although with rough coats, their bodies are brown with black shading. Also, their snorts are blunt, and their tails are paler underneath than above.

Generally, rats are larger, but mice have more prominent ears, pointed snouts, and more petite tails.

2. Behavior

Mice, despite their tiny sizes, are more troublesome than rats. And while the former will wreak havoc in your home looking for food, the latter is more cautious. Unless rats are familiar with an object, they keep their distance. This is why they’re difficult to trap.

Contrastingly, mice’s curious nature allows them to fall into traps set in their paths.

3. Movement

Mice are speed demons that can also swim, jump, and climb up vertical surfaces. With tail support, they can move across narrow routes like electrical cables, ropes, strings, etc. On the other hand, rats are great swimmers. They can adapt to staying in sewers and drains for prolonged hours. In fact, they can nest in some of these areas if food is accessible.

4. Breeding

A female mouse can breed several litters of up to six offspring in a year. Within eight weeks, these babies are grown to become reproductive adults. They can also live for at least 12 months.

Most rat species give birth to limited litter annually. But each can have up to 12 offspring at once. And by three months, these smaller ones are already up for breeding. Rats live longer than miceꟷ for about two yearsꟷ, especially when staying in the wild.

5. Habitat

Mice tend to be suckers for warmth. So when they nest indoors, they look for warm corners. Their shelters are built using shredded papers, fabrics, hays, etc.

Rats have larger abodes and prefer elevated areas. When looking for their dwelling, you may check your attic, roof, trees, or walls. They can also burrow underground to create a nest.

Getting rid of rats and mice can be challenging without the know-how. However, when the situation seems out of control, reach out to a pest control expert immediately.