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What’s the Difference between Mice and Rats?

Mice Control

The two most common rodent pests are undoubtedly rats and mice. These mammals are feared and reviled around the world as disgusting and dangerous animals. You probably have an idea of what the rodents look like, and you've probably noticed that they closely resemble each other. Can you tell the difference between mice and rats?


It's no coincidence that rats and mice look so similar. The animals are closely related and genetically similar. In fact they have a lot in common. Beyond just looking alike, they share similar diets and behaviors. They also share pest characteristics; they get into your walls, eat your food, and carry disease. However, there are some key differences you can use to tell them apart.


This is usually the most determining factor in the difference between rats and mice. Mice are tiny, usually weighing only a few ounces. Rats, on the other hand, can grow to a tremendous size and often weigh more than a pound.


Mice are largely herbivores. In the wild they'll snack on seeds, berries, and nuts, while at home they'll raid your pantry for foods like crackers and fruit. Rats are more omnivorous; they'll eat the same foods as mice but will also scavenge from dead animals, gnaw on bones, and seek out the eggs and babies of other small animals.


Usually, a mouse's tail is thin and somewhat shorter than its body. On the other hand, rats' tails are thick and often as long or longer than their bodies.


Rats and mice have radically different lifespans (assuming they don't just get eaten by snakes, cats, or birds of prey first). You can usually expect a mouse to live around 1-2 years. Rats live about twice that long.

The differences between mice and rats are subtle, but noticeable to the trained eye. To many homeowners, it doesn't really matter. Whether it's a mouse or a rat, you want it OUT of your house! We can help with that, too. Check our pest control pages for bothmice and rats. Failing that, consider contacting a pest control professional to get rid of the problem. They'll be able to correctly identify the culprit rodent for you, too!

Call Terminix today at 8558012113 for more information, or fill out our online form to receive a free termite inspection or pest evaluation.

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