When it comes to rats and mice, many people aren’t able to tell the difference between the two.

Here is a simple guide to help you identify some of the major similarities and differences between rats and mice:


  • A rat can range in body size, typically being between 5-7 inches. This is about the length of your hand, from your wrist to your fingertips.
  • Rats have tails that are shorter than the length of their body.
  • They tend to be dark brown or black.
  • Rats leave droppings about the size of olive pits. Their droppings are very noticeable. As well, rats typically only leave droppings in one are, as they are more discreet than mice.
  • Most rats live in specific areas. Some types prefer to be above ground, nesting in attics, roofs, and trees. Other prefer to burrow below, making their home the ground levels of houses and other buildings.
  • Rats are able to fit in any hole that is the size of a quarter or bigger.
  • Rats, like mice, reproduce quickly. They can have up to five litters per year.



  • Mice tend to be smaller, ranging from 1-4 inches in body length. This is equivalent to the size of the palm of your hand.
  • A mouse’s tail is about the same length as its body, so if a mouse is 3 inches, its tail will also be about 3 inches in length.
  • They are usually light brown or grey.
  • Mice leave droppings that are about the size of rice grains. They can produce 80-100 droppings per day, anywhere are less discreet, leaving their droppings anywhere and everywhere.
  • As well, a mouse infestation will usually be accompanied by a strong, musky odor.
  • Mice almost always live near humans because it is an easy way to find food.  They can live in wall voids, crawl spaces, basements, under appliances , in storage boxes, a home’s foundation and any shrubbery close to the house!
  • A mouse can fit in any hole that is the size of dime or larger.
  • Mice tend the gnaw on household items, including (but not limited to) woods, electrical wires, fabrics, and even soaps!
  • They can have 12 or more babies per litter. They will have have several litters per year, making it possible for a population to go from two to hundreds in less than a year.


Check out our 5 tips on how to help keep your home free of rats, mice, and other rodents!


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