If you ask someone the difference between a rat and a mouse, they will typically assume it has something to do with the size. The differences between rats and mice are much more complex than body size. Each is a completely different genus. While they do have similar physical characteristics and both belong to the rodent family, there is definitely a difference between mouse and rat.
The first thing to understand is that the terms “rat” and “mouse” are not scientific terms. Both categories include different species and subspecies. The term rat typically refers to the genus Rattus. The Rattus genus includes the Norway Rat also known as The Brown Rat, the Roof Rat, Cotton Rats and much more. The word mice typically represent the Mus genus and include the House Mouse, the African pygmy mouse, the Deer Mouse and various others. Species in these two genes are recognized by different characteristics.
Often when you have a rodent infestation, you only discover it because you find droppings. Rodents can live secretly in your home for months before you might actually see one. One difference between a rat and a mouse is the size and shape of their droppings. Mice typically leave significant amounts of feces averaging about 65-150 a day. Mice droppings are spindle-shaped and about ¼ of an inch. Rats have larger pallets and therefore tend to produce fewer pallets at around 40-50 a day. Rat droppings are about ¾ inch long and ⅛ inch in diameter. They are curved resembling the shape of a banana.
Both rats and mice have tails, but there are subtle characteristics that can help you distinguish the difference. Mice have a thinner long tail, covered with little hairs. Rats have a thicker hairless tail.
Rats eat much more on a daily basis than mice do. Mice eat up to 20 times a day, an amount equalling three grams a day and only require three millimeters. Rats eat 15-30g and drink 15-60 millimeters of water a day. Rodents tend to store and hide food so it may be hard to determine which rodent you have based on the amount of food they scavenge.
As mentioned above, the difference in size is one of the biggest ways to determine the difference between the two animals. Mice have large ears and are 3-10 centimeters long. Rats have small ears and bodies that are 16-40 centimeters long.
Whether you have a rat or a mouse in your home, you should give Dustin Pest Control a call to schedule your rodent control services. Dustin Pest Control has been serving the Central Valley Fresno community for over 50 years – contact us today to get started!