rat vs mouse: know the difference

Do you have rats at home? It is likely that you have seen them in different sizes. But can you tell if it is a rat or a mouse that you saw?

It is a sad truth that many Americans still suffer from rodent infestation. In 2017, Philadelphia registered the most number of households with rodent problems.

If we go beyond houses, Chicago emerged as the rattiest city in the United States in 2018.

To effectively curb these pests, we need to get to the bottom of the rat vs mouse debate. We need to know their differences. We need to understand their ways.

Continue reading below as we perform a detailed comparison between these two types of rodents.

  rat vs mouse: the lowdown

As we mentioned above, we need to understand the differences between rats and mice. This is crucial when it comes to our rodent control efforts. Let’s tackle their physical characteristics, as well as their distinct behaviors.

  the similarities

Before we go into the main differences, let’s quickly tackle their similarities. Generally, all rodents have a pair of incisor teeth. You can see them in the upper jaw of the rat or mouse.

They both feature a long tail. They also have short legs.

Both mice and rats have poor eyesight. They both rely heavily on their other senses. But mice are colorblind.

Both mice and rats leave roughly the same signs signifying their presence. They leave their droppings and gnaw marks.

They are both carriers of germs and bacteria.

But once you take a closer inspection, you will see the stark differences.

  living habits

Mice love to build their own nests in burrows. This is where they breed and populate. On average, mice produce 4 to 16 pups per litter.

Annually, they can produce an average of 7 to 8 litters. At max level, that is a total of 128 mice born inside your property a year.

Meanwhile, black rats opt to build their nests up high. Brown rats, on the other hand, want their nests closer to the ground.

Rats produce fewer pups compared to mice. They breed 5 to 10 pups per litter. They generate 3 to 6 litters per year.

But they tend to eat way more than mice. Rats consume about 0.5oz to 1oz of food per day. They also drink .5oz to 2oz of water a day.

Mice, on the other hand, eat .1oz of food per day. They can also survive in as little as .1oz of water daily.

There is also a big difference in terms of their droppings. Mice’s droppings come with pointed ends measuring .04 to .08 inches each. They excrete 80 droppings per day, on average.

Rats’ droppings come in the shape of a banana. They measure around .4 to .8 inches. They excrete around 40 droppings daily.

Both mice and rats are nocturnal creatures. But mice tend to become more territorial and social compared to rats.

Because of their social nature, mice love to explore new things. On the flipside, rats are more cautious and much harder to catch using a trap.  

  physical characteristics

Both mice and rats have a long tail, but the former’s tail features thin hair. The latter’s, on the other hand, is thick and hairless.

Mice are smaller and weigh 0.5 to 1 ounce. Rats are bigger and weigh 5.28 to 10.56oz. Mice also have larger ears compared to rats.

The bellies of mice have a lighter color compared to the bellies of rats. When it comes to the head, mice’s snouts are triangular. They also come with whiskers.

A rat’s snout is blunter. When it comes to their colors, mice can be brown, grey, or white. Rats, on the other hand, may come in brown, black, grey, and white.

When it comes to their movement, mice are more athletic. They can stand up using their hind legs. They do so by supporting their legs using their tail.

They can jump and climb through different panels. These include the rough ones, as well as the vertical surfaces.

In fact, they can jump to as much as 13 inches high. They can balance their bodies while running along with cables and wires.

Meanwhile, rats love to squeeze through holes. They can fit their bodies in a hole that has a diameter of half an inch.

They typically live in sewers but they love to enter homes and buildings. They enter through busted drains and broken toilets.

Interestingly, rats are creatures of habit. They tend to follow the same path or a regular routine every day.

  the damage they can do

Both mice and rats can cause serious damage to your home and property. Being the smaller of the two, mice tend to have weaker teeth. This limits them to gnawing mostly food sources.

Rats can gnaw and chew through different kinds of materials. Their teeth are strong enough to damage wood, glass, and aluminum. They can even pierce through sheet metal and cinder blocks.

When it comes to the health risks they pose, both mice and rats can bring a lot. Just recently, researchers discovered that mice in New York carry new forms of bacteria and viruses.  

Generally, mice spread these harmful elements through their urine. After urinating, they step on their urine and run to different places around the house.

Meanwhile, rats can also carry other pests in their body. These include lice, ticks, and fleas. These pests are carriers of serious ailments like Lyme disease.

  the need to call for help

At the end of the day, the rat vs mouse debate still ends with one conclusion: you need to get rid of these pests.

There are many ways to get rid of these rodents. You can start by cleaning and de-cluttering your house. You should also fix broken toilets and cover holes on your walls.

But when the infestation is already too much to handle, you need the help of professional pest control providers.

If you wish to end your home’s rodent infestation, get in touch with us today. We’ll bring the help you need, ASAP!

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