Mice and rats are often talked about like they are the exact same animal. But, in reality, they are quite different; from their appearances to their eating habits, rats and mice are very distinct rodents with their own sets of characteristics.
Why is it Important to Know if I Have Rats or Mice?
Both mice and rats are dangerous pests that can spread diseases and cause considerable damage to homes. They look fairly similar, and their infestations often have the same signs – such as gnawing marks, droppings, or scratching noises. So, why is it important to know the difference between the two rodents?
Taking the time to understand rats and mice can help you better protect your home from these pests. A good pest control plan will take into consideration what type of rodent you are facing; after all, what works to deter mice will not necessarily work against rats. To help you tell these animals apart, we’ve outlined some of the main differences between rats and mice.
Characteristics of Rats
- Large body size
- Tend to be shy of new objects
- Can travel long distances for food
- Needs 1/2 “ to get through
- Droppings cylindrical and ½” long
- Requires water daily
- Reproduces at a slower rate
Characteristics of Mice
- Smaller body size
- Tend to be curious of new objects
- Usually travel short distances
- Need ¼” to get through
- Droppings size of rice
- Needs no water source
- Reproduces at a faster rate
Mice are much smaller than rats, typically growing up to 7 inches. Their ears and eyes are much larger in comparison to their body size. Mice require around 3g of food per day and usually feed within a few feet of the nest . They are usually easier to trap, but harder to seal out (due to small size). Mice are capable of leaving behind over 80 droppings in a single day, which are about 1-2 mm in size. Throughout a year, a single mouse can have 100+ pups per year.
Meanwhile, rats are much larger and can grow up to 20 inches. Rats require between 15 and 30g of food per day, and tend to travel farther from the nest for food. They are typically harder to trap but easier to seal out (due to large size). They generally only leave behind about 40 droppings per day. These droppings are about 10-20 mm in size. Throughout the year, a single rat can have dozens of pups.
When dealing with a rodent infestation, it can be helpful to identify what type of pest you are up against. If you are struggling to get rid of rodents in your home or building, it can also be helpful to call a pest control expert. With rats and mice, it is important to eliminate infestations as quickly as possible to avoid health issues or property damage.