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Difference Between Mice and Rats

Mice vs Rats

It is a common fault by many to misidentify a rat from a mouse or mice. The reason for such is because they both fall under the same family of rodents although they are distinctly from different scientific classifications. To the untrained eye, the two rodents look the same in some aspects, but a close examination suggests otherwise.

Although there are many species of rats (cotton rats, black rats, Norway rats, African pouched rats, packrats, wood rats, naked mole rats, and kangaroo rats among others). The rodents that people often regard as rats are the medium-sized pest or domestic types – Rattus rattus (black rats) and Rattus norvegicus (Norway rat).

By contrast, mice are the rodents that people usually describe as being tinier in size and have long but thin tails. The most common mouse species are the field mice, smoky mice, dormice, spiny mice, deer mice, and house mice. The most common of such is probably the Mus musculus (house mice) that people often encounter.

Both rodents in their earliest stages in life look the same. That’s why it is important to distinguish the two in their adult stages and discern only the domestic pest-type rat or mouse to avoid confusion. Generally, rats are bigger than mice. They are almost pigeon-like in size as compared to the sparrow-like size of the common mouse. Because of their size, rats are also heavier than most mice. They usually weigh between 0.5-1 lb. compared to the typical mouse weighing approximately ½ oz. a little more or less. Rats are also longer (9-11 inches in length) than mice (3-4 inches only). Adding up to its length is its 7-9 inch tail compared to the mouse’s 3-4 inches. The rat’s head is chunky looking and blunt while the mouse appears to have a pointier, triangular, smaller head size. In addition, rats have one more extra pair of nipples than mice having only five pairs.

In terms of growth, baby rats develop much later because it will take at least six days for its eyes to open, and it will grow fur in about 15 days’ time. Mice open their eyes twice as early (in just three days) and will develop fur as early as the tenth day of life. Rats also have longer (5/8 inch) curved droppings whereas mice have shorter (1/8 inch) droppings that seem pointed at both ends. Lastly, it is interesting to note that rats can sometimes prey on mice but not vice versa.


1.Rats differ in many aspects to the mouse physically because they have a bigger body, heavier weight, longer body length, longer tail, larger head, and have more nipple pairs.
2.The baby rat opens its eyes and grows fur much later than the baby mouse.
3.Rats have longer droppings than mice.
4.Rats can also eat mice but not the other way around.

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