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The Differences Between Mice and Rats

When living inside your home, mice and rats pose similar hazards. Both expose you to groups of harmful diseases and, when building their own nests, they decimate parts of your structure in nearly equal measures: tearing apart insulation, going after your electrical systems and stripping away fabrics and paper.

Yet, when it comes to identifying these pests, each has its own unique characteristics.


MouseMice tend to be smaller rodents with large, floppy ears, a smaller head, large eyes, a long and thin tail and a triangular nose. The typical mouse you’ll spot measures 12 to 20 cm in length and weighs about 12 to 30 grams.

Rats are usually larger, measuring 40 cm or more. Their hair is usually a white, gray, brown or black color and displays noticeable “grease” streaks. Aside from these characteristics, a rat has more of a blunt nose and a long, hairless or scaly tail.

Where They Live

Mice and rats are nocturnal rodents that favor a range of living conditions. Yet, when it comes to preferences, mice don’t venture too far away from their homes and don’t make deep burrows – nothing more than a foot. As they establish a home, mice become fairly territorial.

By contrast, rats make long and deep burrows and will travel far from their homes when the nest becomes overcrowded.


Brown-RatEven before you spot a rodent, you’ll probably notice its droppings. In this regard, mice are known to make several hundred droppings per day, usually small in size. Rats, on the other hand, produce about 20 to 50 droppings per day, usually larger.

Eating Habits

Mice are omnivorous creatures and have been known to have cannibalistic tendencies. Specifically, they’ll eat other mice and even attempt to eat their own tails.

Rats, while similar, are more likely to eat non-food items, including plastic and rocks.

No matter which you spot, noticing a rat or mouse scurry through your home warrants a call to Eliminate ‘Em. We’ll come out to your property that day to assess the issue and provide a solution. For more information or to schedule an appointment, give us a call today.