What’s the Difference Between Mice and Rats?

While domestic mice and rats may make excellent pets for some, the damage a rodent infestation can cause to a property is utterly jaw-dropping.

So what is the difference between rats and mice? Are they the same? Rats are not giant mice, just as gorillas are not simply large chimpanzees. Quite a lot sets mice apart from rats.


When trying to determine which of the two are giving you problems, one quick way to spot the difference is in their droppings. Mouse droppings are smaller with pointed ends, and mice leave their poop everywhere they visit. Rat droppings, on the other hand, are more banana-shaped, larger and found in a waste area designated by the animal(s). Both rodents’ droppings can contaminate the area and, when dried, may cause allergic reactions and irritation in asthma sufferers.


Adult mice have bodies about three to four inches long (tail not included) and weigh roughly 40-45 grams. Adult rats are far larger at eight to nine inches long (tail not included), with some reaching a weight of 500 grams. While both are omnivorous, mice fear their larger cousins, who will prey upon them if given the opportunity. The larger size also allows rats to hunt and eat larger prey; they can attack and eat eggs, baby chicks and sometimes adult chickens.

Property Damage

An infestation of either one in your home or business means trouble. Both will chew through packages to get food. Both may grind down their teeth on your electrical wiring and cost you thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars in repairs. Imagine having to replace all the wiring in your automobiles and boats. Even worse, imagine dealing with all the damage from a house fire. Some estimates say they are responsible for 20 percent of the house fires in the United States.

Besides being physically larger, rats are can bite through a wider variety of tough building materials such as sheet metal and cinder blocks to gain access to areas they wish to explore.

Hire a Professional

Eliminating that single, pesky mouse or rat that has been terrorizing your pantry may be as easy as setting a few traps. However, if the infestation is getting worse, don’t hesitate to contact us at Orange Environmental Services before they do any horrific damage.

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