10 Best Difference Between Mice and Rats

Though booth mice and rats have very obvious differences but some features are very similar as well. As it is no doubt that they both belong to the rodent family they are extremely damaging both to the infrastructure and cause several bacterial and viral infections. But the thing is most people get confused from which one their house gets infested either from a rat or from a mouse. For this purpose, this article has been written to help you spot the main difference between mice and rats so that you can become capable of dealing with both categories when you have the necessary information. Do you want to know about rat foods that they eat or do you want to know about Can rats eat grapes

Mice v/s rats; How to spot the difference?

If there is a coincidence with that you are capable of catching the one either rat or a mouse you have to look at it properly to learn the Difference Between Mice and Rats. Now consider another scenario you are working in your kitchen and see something crawling around near your feet or near your food. It is an obvious thing that the shock will overcome and you may say “A MOUSE!” or “A RAT!” but in this, you don’t have enough time to spot “Was that a rat or a mouse?”


The “Mus musculus” (the scientific name for the traditional house mouse) don’t vary much in length, they are typically two to four inches lengthwise. On the other hand, Norway rat is much bigger and can be easily identified from their size as they are quite bigger from the traditional house mouse. The range in length up to seven to nine inches.

 Now it is obvious to differentiate between these both if they are spotted in their adult age. But you see Norway rat before reaching to their adult age are almost equal to the mouse and hence can be confused with one another.


As far as the color is concerned they both may have similar colors yet there are few things that can be used to differentiate between both. Beginning with the nose, the nose of the mouse is quite triangular and slimmer, more like a Dorito whereas the nose of a rat will be flat and blunt with no sharp endings.

Talking about ears, mice have larger cylindrical ears like an elephant whereas rats have larger ears than mice but if we compare the size of their ears with the size of their body they aren’t that much big but mouse’s ears are quite bigger with respect to their body.

How to tell if you have mice or a rat?

Both mouse and rats belong to the rodent family but these are creatures that no one typically likes that they roam freely in their house except for those who like to pet them. But what to do when you randomly see a rodent in your home or outside and how can you tell was it a rat or a mouse?

Mice and Rats Major difference:

The head of the rat and their feet are larger when compared with a mouse. Also, their bodies and ears will also appear big and they will have flat faces and noses with no sharp ends.

On the other hand, an adult mouse will have a slimmer and a smaller body as compared to a rat and their head, faces and noses will have an organized or an angular look.

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Do I have mice or rats?

The following are the major differences from which you can know either you have a mouse or a rat:

  • Unlike mice, rats are much larger in size. Rats can grow up to 18 inches in length including their tail whereas mice can grow up to only seven inches in length including the tail
  • Rats have tails with scales with no hair and are longer as compared to mice. On the other hand, mice have tails with slight hairs on it and their tails are slimmer than rats.
  • Rats’ noses are flat, blunt or you can say disappointed whereas mice noses are quite angular and sharp.
  • Mice are usually brown and gray in color but rats also come in black color.
  • Likewise their noses, their droppings or feces are sharp and are quarter of an inch long.
  • Rats’ droppings are much larger than that of the mice and are not sharp almost three-quarters of an inch.

What’s the immediate difference between rats and mice?

The head of the rat and their feet are larger when compared with a mouse. Also, their bodies and ears will also appear big and they will have flat faces and noses with no sharp ends.

On the other hand, an adult mouse will have a slimmer and a smaller body as compared to a rat and their head, face and nose will have an organized or an angular look.

Best way to differentiate between mice and rats:

“Both rats and mice will literally eat anything but rats will eat mice too.”

Below are the key differences between a rat and a mouse.

Mice, Rats Behavior:

Mice are really curious and adventurous. And you will not see them resting and as a result chances of seeing them in your house are more. Hence, you can easily calculate which paths are their favorite and then you can easily set the traps with tasty baits to finish their scene.

On the other hand, rats are extremely cautious. And you will not see them quite often even if they have infested your house. The reason is they avoid changes and take much time to get used to it. As they analyze everything in their path and take time to identify them. Therefore, first, you have to fake the traps and once they get used to it places an actual trap with bait to capture them.

Best way to differentiate between mice and a rat:

There are almost 70 species in North America only of rats and mice. Among these three rats which are found most abundantly all over the continent are House mouse, Norway rat, and the Roof rat.

House mouse:

Mus musculus (house mouse) have everything generally small including feet, tail, and nose except for the ears which are quite floppy and round as compared to their body. The color of these mice can range to light brown to light gray having a darker shade of the tail. Their feces are like the shape of rods.

Norway rat:

Rattus Norvegicus (Norway rat) have larger and fatter bodies having short ears with dark hair. They have brown bodies with a little tint of black color having a clumsier look. When looked upon from beneath their tales are in pale color but when looked from the top they appear to have a darker tail. Their feces or droppings are similar to capsules.

Roof rat:

They have slimmer bodies with pointed noses having large hairless ears. They are a dark shiny and smooth coat with a tail of a darker shade. Their feces or droppings are similar to pins.

Mouse v/s rat – Difference and comparison

There are almost three breeds of both rats and mice that are considered as major pests in America and these are mentioned above as the House mouse, the Norway rat, and the roof rat.

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Mice appearance:

The most major factor on which mice can be distinguished from rats is their size. Mouse can be 3-10 cm long. Whereas, for some reason, young rats are often confused with mice.

  • Mature mice can be differentiated from the baby rat from its larger ears and tail.
  • A baby rat also has a bigger head and feet as compared to a mouse.
  • Despite having the normal grey or brown color, mice have lighter shade on the center of their body as well.

Rat’s appearance:

Brown rats are generally bigger than the ship rat. They have thicker slender bodies with their tail shorter than the head and feet. Their tail is of lighter color from beneath. Also, they have small hairless ears with flat noses.

Black rats have smaller rounder bodies with large ears but they are not cylindrical and are quite thin. They have sharp noses with the tail more in length than their head and feet.

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