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Rats Vs Mice – The Difference And Why It Matters?


Aaaargh! A rat! Wait! Is it a mouse or a rat? What is it? How do I spot the difference between mice and rats? How does it matter anyway?

If your mind is clouded with all these questions, then keep scrolling!

For starters, let’s investigate some differences between rats and mice.

What Is the Difference Between Rats and Mice?

Both mice and rats fall into the rodent family, and both can cause extensive damage once they invade your home. But isn’t that obvious? Well, not really.

While the differences between a mouse and rats may seem too obvious, the contrasts are way more understated. The average homeowners, therefore, find it hard to distinguish between the two.

While there are over 1,500 rodent species globally, mice and rats are the two major creatures that have impacted us. That said, let’s understand the real difference between rats and mice.

  1. Size: A fully grown house mouse can measures anywhere between 12 to 20 cm and weighs around .7 ounces, whereas a fully grown rat measures around 40 cm and can weigh up to 8 ounces. Interestingly, the tail of a rat measures 8 to 25 cm, compared to the tail of mice, which is only 5 to 10 cm long.
  2. Behavior: While mice are the curious ones, investigating any new thing that they discover, which makes them an easy target for mouse traps, rats are the more cautious ones who tend to avoid new things until they are familiar with their surroundings. Hence, setting traps for them is difficult.
  3. Diet: While Both rats and mice are omnivores, which means they eat both animals and plants, but they tend to enjoy different kinds of food items. For instance, mice prefer cereal grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. Rats, on the other hand, eats everything in larger quantities. They gravitated towards meat, pet foods, fish, and stored cheeses.
  4. Habitat: Mice usually nests near food sources, using shredded paper or any other soft materials. Whereas rats burrow along fences, under buildings, and plants or debris.
  5. Breeding: The lifespan of female mice spans around 1.5 to 2.5 years. They can produce over 300 offsprings that begin to mate as early as 4 weeks of age. If you feel shocked, wait till you know about rats. A pair of rats can produce as many as 2,000 in a single year. Now, that’s one dirty rat maths.
  6. Droppings: Rat droppings are large, rounded ends that measure around 7 to 9 mm. Mouse droppings are relatively smaller and pointier at the ends and measure between 4 to 7 mm.
  7. Damage: Rats have stronger teeth than mice. They gnaw through various building materials such as wood, glass, aluminum, sheet metal, and even cinder blocks.

Why Does It Matter?

Determining the species of rodent present in your home will help you in your rodent control treatment. Both differ in their appearance, behavior, diets, habitats, and breeding. Hence, they require different approaches to getting rid of them. Your rodent control efforts will be successful when you know them well. What works to control rats might not necessarily work on mice and vice versa.

Final Words

Rodents can create substantial damage, irrespective of their type. So, if you see one inside your property, seek professional help from pest control services immediately because eradicating these rodents is extremely difficult without any professional help.

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