Differences Between a Mouse and a Rat

Mouse Rat
house-mouse norwegian-rat
Body Length 6-9 cm (2-4 inches) 20-25 cm (8-10 inches)
Tail Length 8-10 cm (3-5 inches) 15-20 cm (6-8 inches)
Weight 15-50 g 150-300 g
Ears Large Small
Muzzle Wide muzzle, blunt and large Sharp muzzle, narrow
Legs Small relative to body Large hind feet
Tail Long thin tail covered in small hairs Thick and hairless tail
Eyes Small Large and prominent
Nesting habits Builds nests in burrows Rats prefer to nest above ground
Breeding 4-16 pups per litter, 7-8 litters per year 5-10 pups per litter, 3-6 litters per year
Eating habits Omnivores – eat everything, even meat. Consume up to 30g of food per day and need regular water drinking Likes a large variety of foods but prefers cereals. Consumes 3g of food per day and can survive without water for long
Droppings Small and scattered, 3-6mm. Mice produce up to 100 droppings per day Big in size, about 2cm long, usually grouped. Produced 20-50 droppings per day
Lifespan Mice live 9-12 months and are sexually active from 1 and a half month. Rats live from 9-18 months and are sexually active 2-3 months after birth
Property damage Rats and mice both gnaw on wood, paper, cloth. They drill holes in walls, furniture, electrical appliances and chew on wiring, which can cause a short circuit and engulf your property in flames. Contaminates your food and that of your pet and damages crops in your garden.
Diseases rats and mice carry Hemorrhagic fever, Salmonella, Leptospirosis, Tularemia and many other

Though often difficult to distinguish a mouse from a rat, both species share something in common that concerns us. They pose a great threat to human and pet health, as well as to the well-being of the properties they live in. Being familiar with the difference between mouse and rat can save you a lot of money that you would otherwise spend on rodent control services services.

How to Determine if You Have a Mouse in the House

Mice and rats are creatures that prefer to roam at night when it’s safer and remain hidden during daytime. However, they are not good at covering their tracks. There are several signs that can confirm you have visitors of the rodent invaders type:

  • Grease marks – Oils and dirt from mouse and rat fur leave dark grey smears on floors, skirtings, walls, and holes. These indicate their regular routes around your home;
  • Strange noises at night – Mice and rats aren’t famous for being quiet. Squeaks and scratching noises can be heard from basements, lofts, false ceilings, damaged floorboards, etc.;
  • Nests – These rodents build nests from soft, fuzzy, or warm materials, such as furniture stuffing, fabric, quilt batting, shredded paper, grass, and twigs. Shredded items can be an indicator of infestation;
  • Footprints – Areas that accumulate a lot of dust can reveal trails of mouse traffic;
  • Droppings – Mice can produce as much as 100 droppings per day. Rats produce much less droppings, but they are bigger in size. Check for marks inside and on top of cupboards or along the skirting;
  • Strong stench – It’s impossible to ignore the stench mice leave behind from urine and excrement. This is, perhaps, the first sign you’ll discover if a mouse infestation has occurred in your property;
  • Gnaw marks – Mice and rodents chew on almost anything. Scattered foodstuffs and holes in food packagings around the kitchen are a bad sign.

How to Get Rid of Mice in Your House

  1. Rodent-proof your home – Seal any possible points of entry and deny mice access to your property. Steel wool and caulk will do the job perfectly. Avoid materials mice and rats can easily gnaw through.
  2. Mouse traps – A non-toxic solution to a rodent infestation. Traps eliminate mice instantly and come in many variations. It’s advised that you try different types of traps and see what works and what doesn’t. Popular baits include peanut butter, oatmeal, and dried fruit.
  3. Bait and poison – Use this method as a last resort. These poisons are toxic to humans and the possible outcome may involve a dead mouse at a spot you can’t reach, since they don’t die immediately.
  4. Pest control – It’s a good idea to quote a pest control technician who’s experienced in exterminating mice. They come equipped with all the tools necessary to do the job.
  5. Cat – The most natural problem solver you could think of. And a new friend, too!
  6. Clean your home thoroughly – This will not drive the mice out, but will definitely help in not attracting them. Throw out or seal your garbage well and eliminate any crumbs and food leftovers on the table.

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