What are the Differences Between Rats and Mice?


Rats and mice are both in the rodent family, but it can be easy to get confused over the differences if you see a crawling, tailed rodent in your home. Both multiply by the tens, so if you have a problem you will need the best pest control you can find regardless of what species it is. The CDC reports that between the two species, rats and mice carry and spread over 35 diseases. It’s not critical that you know the difference between the two, but it’s useful to know what you’re dealing with when you call.

Size Matters

Rat infestations are spiking all over America, and they are the larger of the two rodents. Some reports have indicated that they can even be the size of infants sometimes. A brown rat will be thicker than a black rat, sometimes you can’t tell the difference in shade.

On average, they grow up to 15 inches, whereas mice are much tinier. They are not often longer than 5 or 8 inches.

Tail Patterns

Rats will have tails that have no hair at all because their tails have scales on them. Mice on the other hand have hair on their tails, and it is usually short and thin. It can be difficult to tell, however, and you don’t usually want to get too close to inspect this. If you know what to look for, you can often tell the difference once you realize rats don’t have hair on their tails.

Infographic Provided by Tracy Tiernan Attorney at Law

Check the Face

The faces of these two different rodents are also very different. A rat will have whiskers that are very short, and their snout is on the blunt side. Rats will also have very pointy ears.

A mouse on the other hand will have whiskers that are very long. Their nose or snout appears triangular in nature. Mice also have large floppy ears, as you see in the cartoons.


Rat and mice have very different-sized feet. Rat feet are very easy to see, by nature they are bigger animals. Their feet are long and clawed.

Mice feet look the same, they are long and pointy.

The Treats They Leave Behind

When it comes to droppings, the size is much different here as well. Mouse droppings look like tiny black pebbles. Rats on the other hand leave long brown droppings that can be as long as an inch.

If you think you have a rodent problem, call the best pest control company that you can find in your area. Your local exterminator offers a number of affordable solutions that can nip this problem in the bud, and usually very quickly.


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