Isn’t telling the difference between mice vs rats pretty easy? Most will argue that it is and others not so much. The biggest tell is usually the size. Rats are generally known for being the bigger of the two rodents, while mice are known for being meek like the ones in Cinderella. Whatever the case may be, it is good to know the difference between the two. In this article, we will go over what exactly sets these two common household rodents apart from one another, and why you, as a homeowner, should care. 

Black and white rats

Rats Vs. Mice

So why does it matter if you know the difference between a rat and a mouse? To most people, a rodent is a rodent, and typically they want whatever scurred across the floor to not be in the home. Rats and mice are two very different creatures. Mice are probably more common as a household pest, while rats can be more dangerous in general.

The problem with mice and rat infestation is when a homeowner catches a glimpse of a rodent; it’s just that a glimpse. There isn’t that much time to really study whether or not it is a rat or mouse. You’re lucky to identify a furry creature with a tail running to its hideout. But let’s say we removed that barrier of only catching a quick view, what would their similarities and differences be?

What are Their Similarities

Some similarities between rats and mice include their body shapes. They both are four-legged rodents, and they both have a tail. From here they may have brown fur, depending on the breed, and short ears. For the sake of argument and this article, when we refer to mice, we are talking about the ordinary house mouse. For rats, we are referring to the Norway rat, which is the most common rat. Both rats and mice are nocturnal too. 

Black and white mice facing each other

What Are Their Differences

Size is the most noticeable difference between rats and mice. The house mouse can grow up to four inches. Compare that to the more massive Norway rat that can grow up to nine inches; you wouldn’t mistake a mouse and a rat based on their size. Now that is based on their adult sizes, when they are babies, it can be more challenging to distinguish the two.

Diet and Eating Habits

Rodents will eat just about anything, including insects and your home’s wiring. This makes rodents not only a danger but also destructive a home. They will chew wires, get into insulation, and even destroy drywall. In the wild, rats and mice will eat seeds, nuts, and berries. 

Where do They Live?

In the wild, rodents will find anywhere that is quiet during the day and dark. Because they sleep during the day, they will often look for a safer place to call home. When they take up residence in your home, it will usually be in the attic, behind the walls, or in the basements.


If it were a challenge as to which rodent went poop more, the mice would when. Mice can produce up to 100 droppings a day to the rats 50 maximum. This is probably why most people can tell they have a mouse problem quickly. Because mice are smaller, they can fit in tiny areas like underneath sinks. This is where most people will see mouse droppings. 


Rats and mice can be found in anyone’s home. As nocturnal creatures, most people will find them here at night as they are foraging for food. It is essential to take care of a rodent infestation as soon as possible, as rats and mice can spread disease and cause damage to the home. 

Rats are more prominent than mice and are distinguishable by their hairless tails. Mice have a triangular nose to the rats more blunt snout. If you find rodent droppings in your home, it is probably time to call the pest control for assistance. While ‘mice traps’ could work for one or two, they won’t be that effective against a nest or against rats. Bug Guys Pest Control offers rodent control throughout the Coachella Valley to both residential and commercial customers.