Rat on a bird feeder

How Can You Tell the Difference Between a Rat and a Mouse?

How to Identify a Rat and a Mouse?

To some all rodents look the same. So you may wonder how you can tell the difference between a rat and a mouse? The aim of this blog is to identify some key features so you can more easily tell the difference between the two. In general, the way we deal with these rodents is very similar. By knowing the difference between the two could speed up the process of getting rid of them. Warning, there are pictures of rodents in this blog.

Differing Characteristics of Rats and Mice

There are several common indicators that will help you tell the difference between a rat and a mouse. The two often get mistaken for each other so let’s look at their distinguishing differences. There are of course many types of rats and mice, which we will look at in a future blog, but for this one we will use the common rat and the house mouse, both of which you will come across in the house.

House Mouse

A house mouse has the following:

  • Small head and body (adult is approximately 10cm).
  • A pointed nose.
  • Large ears.
  • A uniform thickness of the tail.
  • Droppings are like a grain of rice, but black.
  • Mice drop as they go about their business, unlike rats.
Mouse found in the loft, mouse removal treatment needed.
Mice found in the loft.

Brown Rat

The brown rat can be identified by the following features.

  • Small ears
  • A blunt nose (snout)
  • A long tail that starts thick and gets smaller.
  • Big feet.
  • Large body (adult is approximately 25cm without their tail).
  • Droppings are considerably larger than a mouse and 1 to 2 cm in length.
  • Rats tend to use one area as a toilet.
  • Although it is called a “brown rat”, its fur is more like a grey colour.
rat in the garden | Rat control
Common Brown Rat

Common Mistakes

Sometimes their may be confusion between the difference between rats and mice. This occurs when a baby rat is seen or caught. The best way to tell the difference in this situation is to look at the feet. A baby rats feet are completely out of proportion to the rest of its body. So much so it looks very strange and is unmissable in my opinion.

Other Information

Hopefully, this has helped you to understand how to identify the key features and spot the difference between these two rodents? Now you have this information, you should know how to tell the difference between a rat and a mouse in the future. For more information on rats and mice visit some of our other blogs on the website. If you are experiencing problems with rats or mice then we can help you with the problem. For more advice on rodent issues contact us to see how we can help. There is more information also on the BPCA website which is the leading body for pest control.