Mice vs. Rats – What’s the Difference

Mice vs. Rats – What’s the Difference and why it Matters?

There is always a possibility that your place may be at risk for a rat or mice infestation. This infestation can easily turn into an expensive ordeal. Your family’s health will be put at risk if you don’t handle it properly. A lot of people are at risk for a rodent infestation no matter how old or new their home may be. However, when we talk about a rodent problem, it may be due to mice or rats. Yes! They both are different and some of the differences may be more subtle than everyone thinks. Your rodent solutions will be more effective when you know the difference between mice and rats.

Though both fall into the rodent family, they are different and let’s check out how and why it matters.


Mice vs. Rats

There are many other differences between them such as the size, color, head, tails, behavior, habitats and more. Let’s dive deep into the differences:

Behavior – Although both fall into the rodent category, mice are curious and rats and cautious. Mice will investigate anything new while rats are very careful and avoid exploring new things in their path. Because of this, you can set the trap and put it right in the path of mice. You need to place unset traps in the rat’s path before set rat traps.

Physical Characteristics – Rats are medium-sized to large rodents and may grow to be as long as 40 cm or more. On the other hand, house mice measure 12 to 20 cm in length. Rats are mostly white, gray, brown, or black in color while mice may be white, brown or grey in color.

Habitat & Breeding – Though mice like to eat cereal grains and plants they will feed on almost anything. On the other hand, rats will eat nearly anything. Mice are afraid of rats because rats will kill and eat mice too. One female mouse can breed up to 10 litters of babies that are up to five dozen baby mice in one year.

Movement – Rats can enter your house through a hole even if it’s as small as a ½ inch and broken drains or toilets. They will live in sewers as they are strong swimmers and can also climb to get food or water. Also, they mostly follow regular routines and paths each day. On the other hand, mice are very good jumpers, swimmers as well as climbers. Of frightened, they will just run straight out.Mice vs. Rats – What’s the Difference and why it Matters?

Who causes more damage – Mice or Rats?

It’s time to know who causes more damage if entered your place. The fact is that both rats and mice are dangerous and the damage can be significant. In both the cases, you may have to try professional solutions or have a professional come in and check the situation.

Both rats and mice can cause damage in different forms. Mice have weaker teeth and mostly contaminate any food stored in your kitchen. On the other hand, rats can chew the wires which may lead to fire hazards. Rats are much stronger than mice and can damage aluminum, wood, glass, metal sheets, and other hard surfaces.

The damage may just not to your property or stuff. Yes it’s true. Rodents can cause a lot of damage to your health also. Both rats and mouse easily transmit bacteria and other disease agents. Therefore, it will be better to get rid of both of the species.

Some facts about Rats that you must know

  • Droppings, tracks, runways, gnawing marks, and burrows are some signs of rat presence.
  • Though rats have very poor eyesight they are blessed with strong smell, taste, and hearing senses.
  • Rats are bigger than a mouse and have coarser fur.
  • Rats live with companions as they are extremely affectionate animals.
  • They have excellent memories and learn a route to never forget it.
  • Some species can swim over a mile.
  • Rats can carry Pathogens and can spread over 35 diseases.
  • Rats can reproduce every 3 weeks.
  • There are 56 known species of rats. The most popular ones include the Norway rat, pack rat, and roof rat.

Who is smarter – Mouse or rat?

Well! According to different animal researches and findings, mice can perform decision-making tasks just as well as rats can. Various studies have shown that the rodents are of equal intelligence while some has also suggested mice are smarter. However, the presence of both can be unsafe as they transmit diseases and they both are difficult to trap. There are some products that you can use to counterattack their smartness and get rid of them.

However, as far as my experience is concerned, there may be some overlap as sometimes I find rats cleverer while other times the mouse. I have also seen mice become friendly as just like human beings animals have a range of behavior. I guess, both are smart and can only be trapped smartly.

Can Big Rats Escape Traps?

Yes, big rats can escape traps because their senses are very strong. You may need more traps than you think. Rats often memorize their environment by body and muscle movement alone. A successful trapping depends on proper identification of the different species. A typical mouse trap is not big enough to catch rats. If a trap is sprung but with no at caught, you may not be able to trap them again at the same route. You need to install them at the right place means in high-activity areas of the rat colony. You can consider placing the traps along walls, darkened corners, behind storage cabinets, or where you have seen the droppings.

How to deal?

Noticed any mouse of rat activity in your home? Either go directly to the professionals or you may consider the following solutions:

Rodent Repellent

Though there are many rodent repellent products available in the market, the most effective method is cleanliness. As rodents nest within close proximity of food and make sure to store trash in tightly sealed containers. Also, dispose of garbage on regular basis as it can be an easy target. Various types of repellents include scents, oils & powders and sound-based products. Here are a few products you can use at your home:-

Fresh Cab Botanical Rodent Repellent – This EPA registered rodent repellent contains 4 scent pouches. These pouches can be placed in infested areas to keep mice out. It is a non-toxic formula as it is made from balsam fir oil. Therefore, it protects your storage areas for up to 90 days. It can be used in pantries, cabins, garages, under hot tubs, farm equipment, vehicles, and storage units.


Essentially Kates Peppermint Essential Oil Peppermint oil is a natural rodent repellent. This product comes with a long glass dropper for easy use and a phenolic cap for long-term storage. It is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral. Apart from keeping rodents away it will keep your home and kitchen clean and smelling fresh.


Arm & Hammer Baking Soda – The 4 pound box contains pack of 2 and can be used to freshen and deodorize any space. You can also use baking soda with flour and sugar to make a rat poison. The bicarbonate of the baking soda reacts with the rat’s stomach acids. It ultimately produces a carbon dioxide gas making rats unable to pass gas.


Au Natural Organics Onion Seed Oil – Onion seed oil is a natural rodent repellent. It can help you keep the rats away as they hate the pungent smell of onions. The best way is to place onions around your home. Also, you can use the more handy option, the onion oil and this product come with a 30-day full satisfaction or money-back guarantee.

Victor Heavy-Duty Sonic PestChaser Pro Rodent Repeller – This plug-in-repelling device works on mice, rats, and other rodents. It can be used in large rooms such as garages, kitchens, basements, and attics. The 6-foot cord enables ideal placement. It produces a high-frequency ultrasound to repel rodents.Rodent Repellent


With difference clear between mice vs rats, you can easily figure out the solution that works best for you. Rodents like mice and rats can contaminate food, spread disease, and damage property. Therefore, it is important to get rid of them. Using natural solutions can be the best way to keep them away. As they thrive across the world in almost any habitat with access to food and water, it’s good to have some knowledge.

I am already using the essential oils and sound-based repellents and the results are pretty good. However, you may choose as per your need as there is a huge variety available. If the problem still persists, contact with a professional. A professional can help you understand the situation and apply the most suitable solution.

So, go ahead and get rid of mice or rats and make your life wonderful!