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Mouse Vs. Rat - How to Tell The Difference

mouse or rat

01.10.2006 - Rats and mice are similar in appearance. In fact, people often confuse juvenile rats for mice, and the two do look extremely similar. While there are several species of rats and mice, I will examine the two most common ones, the Roof or Black Rat, and the House Mouse, both seen in the above photograph. As you can see, the biggest difference is size. Rats grow to a body of 8 inches and a tail of 9 inches, and a weight of almost a pound. Mice rarely grow more than 3 inch body 3 inch tail, and a couple of ounces. Next is color, and rats tend to be gray with white bellies, turning more brown as they get older. Mice are more brown to begin with, and have darker bellies. Next is the tail. It's black with scaley rings on a rat, and tan and more smooth on a mouse. The feet of a rat are also longer in proportion to the body, and a rat's ears are also larger. But these variations are subtle. The primary thing, of course, is the size difference. Mice are really small!

Their behavior is also similar of course, very similar, and once again, the differences are subtle. The main difference is that mice are bolder. They will investigate new things, explore their environment, and blunder right into traps. Rats are a bit craftier, dodgier, and much more cautious. Rats live their lives in fear. They are wary of investigating new things, and they don't explore much. In that sense, people believe that they are harder to trap, but I've never had any problem trapping rats.

I caught both the above rat and mouse today in Orlando. Not in the same place, mind you, although they probably share territory in some areas. Mice are actually very rare in central Florida. I caught this mouse at a lawyer's office in downtown Orlando. The attic has a mouse infestation that I will soon remedy. I've already sealed the building 100% airtight, so now it's just a matter of catching the rodents stuck inside. Same as my method for solving a rat problem. The primary difference for me between these two critters? Different sized trap!

Do it yourself: Visit my How To Get Rid of Rats page for tips and advice.
Do it yourself: Visit my How To Get Rid of Mice page for tips and advice.
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