The Differences Between Rats and Mice

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The Differences Between Rats and Mice

Rodents can be a problem all year round. They can be found in lots of different locations from the garden in sheds and garages., to your household, in the walls or under floorboards, just to highlight a few. Below we look at the differences between house mice and brown rats. Knowing these differences can help you identify your pest problem properly.

Differences in how they look

Rats are typically bigger than mice in length and heavier in weight. A mouse is most likely to be smaller than a baby rat, they have smaller heads and feet. Mice and rats also have different face shapes with mice having a more triangular nose with long whiskers. Rats on the other hand have long faces but a more rounded tip to the end of their nose. Although the colourings of rats and mice can be similar for example greys or browns, rats can also be black too. Another difference are their tails. Rats tails are thick and hairless, whereas mice tails are hairier and thinner.

What they eat

Due to the size of rats, they tend to eat more than mice. Rats like to eat things like nuts, seeds and vegetables. They will also eat smaller animals or insects if necessary. If they are around your home, they will be attracted to food sources such as pet food or meat as they like protein rich foods. They also love fruit, so if you have a fruit tree, it is good practice to keep an eye out for any indications of rats. Mice are attracted to food sources high in carbohydrates mainly. They usually prefer to eat grains and fruits like rats. However, if food sources are scarce, mice will pretty much eat anything they can find. They may even resort to eating each other. Due to their food preference, they can cause big problems within your garden. Interestingly, mice do not actually need that much food or water to survive compared to rats, mice typically eating around 10% of what rats do. Rats must have a water source nearby in order to survive, whereas mice are able to get the water required to survive from the food sources they eat.

Other things to look out for


A sign of a rat or mouse infestation is the droppings they leave behind. Mice leave numerous droppings in many different locations. In comparison, rats leave lesser amounts of droppings and it is confined to a particular location.


Both rats and mice can cause a lot of damage in and around the home. They are able to gnaw through a wide variety of materials like wires, wood and even metal. Rats are able to dig holes to create tunnels which can cause disruption to the lawn and plants. Mice like to make nests and will do so with lots of different things found around the home, from hair, paper, cardboard etc.


Keep an eye out for tracks, droppings and fresh gnawing, these are signs of a rat or mouse infestation. If you think you have a pest problem with rodents, please give us a call!