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Difference Between Mice And Rats

The Difference Between Mice And Rats

Wondering what the difference between mice and rats is? Many of our customers wonder about this too when they spot a rodent. These animals might seem exactly alike in some situation. However, there are a few key differences between them.

What is the difference between mice and rats?

There are several things that set these rodents apart. These differences are particularly apparent when it comes to size, weight, behaviour and other factors.

Body size

A full grown mouse will measure around 14-20 cm, while a full grown rat is about 40 cm. That being said, both of these creatures can be a similar size when they are babies. And a very young rat can be a similar size to a large adult mouse. This can cause confusion.

Dropping size

Both mice and rats are known to eat in filthy areas such as rubbish bins. This means their droppings are riddled with harmful bacteria.

rat in london park

The main difference between mouse and rat droppings is that rats have larger droppings. Their droppings also have rounder ends, and measure up to 10-15 mm. Mouse droppings are smaller and often have pointy ends. They measure about 3-7 mm.

Body weight

The weight difference between mice and rats can vary. This mostly depends on things, like availability of food and habitat. Despite this, rats are on average heavier. They also eat about twice as much as mice.

Tail size

Both species have long tails. However, rats have bigger, thicker and longer tails. Most rat tails are around 10-20 cm and mouse tails average at 5-12 cm.

Reproduction rate

Rats and mice can both reproduce at an alarming rate. The female mouse has a life span of about 2 years. During this time she can deliver more than 200 babies.

a small london mouse

Incredibly, these can begin mating at only 4 weeks of age. In comparison, rats normally produce about half the amount of offspring. They can begin mating at around 3 months.

Feeding habits

Both of these animals are omnivores. They will eat almost anything. This can include man made materials such as cardboard. Usually though, they prefer food items, such as grains, fruits, seeds and nuts.

The damage they cause

Both of these pests can produce significant damage to your property. They are also capable of spreading disease and causing other problems. That being said, because they are larger and more powerful, rats will usually do more damage. Both will chew through literally anything – including wire, wood, concrete and brick.

As you can see, the difference between mice and rats is not especially major. Despite this, it’s useful to know these facts, especially if you’re dealing with an infestation.


Sally has been writing on the subject of pest control for 4 years. She always carries out extensive and in depth research and always tries to bring you the most up to date, interesting topics.

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