Rats and Mice: What’s the Difference?

To many folks, rats and mice are one in the same. While they may have some similar physical traits and similar behaviors, they are very different animals. If you have a rodent infestation, it’s important to know if you’re Tampa ratdealing with rats or mice so you can take appropriate action to solve the issue. Here are some of the major ways in which rats and mice are very different.

Size and Appearance

As a general rule, rats are larger in size than mice. Adult rats average about 9-11 inches long with a tail that averages about 7-9 inches, whereas mice only average about 3-4 inches long, with a 3 to 4 inch tail. In some instances though, it is possible to mistake a baby rat for an adult mouse.

The head of a mouse tends to be much smaller and more pointed than the head of a rat. Young rats have feet that appear to be larger than its body, whereas mature mice have much smaller feet. The tail of a mouse tends to be longer than its actual body length, and a rat’s tail is much shorter than its overall body length.

Behavioral Differences

One thing that most people don’t know is that mice are actually afraid of rats because rats have been known to eat mice on occasion. Mice tend to be much more adventurous than rats and will feed on nearly anything. On the other hand, rats are much pickier about what they eat.

Other differences include:

  • Mice tend to eat grains and plants, whereas rats will eat meet if needed
  • Rats commonly burrow under fences or buildings, but will stay within a few hundred feet of their burrow
  • Both mice and rats can enter your home through tiny openings. Mice need just ¼” and rats can get through most openings bigger than ½”

Knowing the differences between rats and mice goes a long way to preventing their entry and preventing any infestations. If you suspect that rats or mice have gained entry to your home, give the experts at Critter Control® of Tampa a call today at 813.948.0870.