Both rats and mice belong to the rodent family, but that doesn’t mean that they are entirely the same thing. Each has unique characteristics which can be used to properly identify which one is which. Properly knowing which of them are rats and which of them are mouse is important to help you save time and money when it comes to pest control. Knowing which one you are dealing with will make pest control will be easier and more efficient.

One of the easiest ways to help you identify them is by their size. Typically, a mouse is smaller and a rat is bigger. However, things can get complicated, so it is important to know the proper difference between rats and mice. Now, here are the differences between rats and mice.


  • House mice are typically smaller in size and cuter compared to rats. Here are the characteristics of a mouse:
  • Typically measures about 12-20cm in length
  • Weighs about 12-30g
  • Has a long and thin tail covered with hairs
  • Larger ears (ear to head ratio)
  • Larger eye to head ratio
  • They produce about 80 dropping every day and is larger compared to a rat’s (3-8mm compared to 1-2mm for rats)
  • They can produce 8 pups per litter
  • Produces about 7 litters a year
  • They eat about 3g of food every day
  • They can survive with scarce water as they can live with as little as 3ml of water daily
  • They build their nests in burrows


As we have learned earlier, rats are larger in size and these are their common characteristics:

  • Measures about 16-40cm in length depending on species
  • Has a thick bald tail
  • Large feet
  • They weigh heavier, about 200g or more depending on species
  • Can produce 7 pups per litter
  • Can produce 4 litters a year
  • They produce 40 droppings daily and is smaller compared to mice (1-2mm), shaped like a banana
  • Small ears
  • Thick hairless tail
  • Eats about 20g of food daily
  • Needs 15-60ml of water daily

Rats are further divided into two common species (there are other species as well, but we’ll only cover these two as they are more common throughout the world). They are the black and brown rats; each has their own distinct characteristics.

Brown Rats

Brown rats can grow up to 40cm in length. Their tail’s length is shorter compared to the combined length of their head and body. They have a blunt nose, small ears and a thicker body compared to a black rat.

Black Rats

They are smaller than brown rats, with a body length of about 16-24cm. Their tails are longer than brown rats, its length is greater compared to the combined length of their head and body. Weighs up to 200g, has a pointed nose, large ears, and slender body.