Rats and mice — which pest is invading your home?

Keep your house pests under control with our guide to the difference between a rat and a mouse.

Updated

two white and brown mice sitting on a palm

Key steps:

Here’s how to spot the physical difference between a rat and mouse:

  1. Mice will have larger ears than rats.
  2. Rats will have a blunter snout than mice.
  3. Adult rats are considerably larger than mice.
  4. Baby rats will have smaller ears and larger feet than mice.

If you spot a small, furry rodent in your home, it’s likely you’re going to want to do everything you can to get rid of it. But before you can get rid of your unwanted rodents you need to know how to tell the difference between mice and rats.

If you’re struggling to spot the difference between mice and rats, it’s a good idea to try and get a picture of your pest to show a professional.

Physical differences between a rat and a mouse

While rats and mice can look pretty similar - especially when they quickly run past your feet - there are some differences you can spot.

  • The most obvious rat and mouse difference is the size; rats are usually a few inches larger than mice.
  • When it comes to baby rodents, baby rats will have smaller ears and larger feet than baby mice.
  • A mouse has large, floppy ears, a triangular-shaped snout with long whiskers and a thin, hairy tail.
  • Rats tails are usually hairless and scaly and they have a less prominent snout than mice.

Differences between baby rats and mice

Baby rats and mice can look very similar at first sight but you can tell them apart? 

  • Whereas an adult mouse will have large ears and a long tail, baby rats will be smaller and shorter.
  • A baby rat will also have a larger head and feet than a mouse.

Differences between mouse poop and rat poop

Struggling to get a good look at your rodents as they scurry across the floor? A great way to tell these two pests apart is by taking a look at their droppings instead. The main differences between mouse poop and rat poop are:

  • Mouse droppings are usually small - between ⅛ - ¼ of an inch - smooth, and have pointed ends.
  • Rat droppings are typically dark brown and have blunt ends.

Differences between rats and mice in the house: damage

If you're unlucky enough to have rodents damaging your property then this can be another way to spot the difference between a rat and a mouse in your home.

  • Mice have weaker teeth than rats so if you’re seeing signs of gnawing on tough materials, such as wood and metal, it’s more likely you’re dealing with a rat infestation. 
  • Mice can gnaw through wires and softer materials, such as fabric, so this lighter damage could be a sign they're in your home.

Once you know whether you’ve got rats or mice living under your roof, you can start properly deal with the problem. Check out our tips for getting rid of mice and get your pest situation under control.

Originally published