Image of a House Mouse

The Difference Between Mice and Rats

Norway rats, roof rats, and house mice are the most common types of home-invading rodents. There are a number of physical differences between mice and rats that help to identify them:

  • House Mice – These little rodents are lightweight and measure about five inches in length. They have grayish-brown fur.
  • Norway Rats – These heavy, bulky rodents are about a foot long on average. The pests have gray coats with pale underbellies.
  • Roof Rats – This species is agile and slender, though roof rats are about the same length as Norway rats. These rodents are grayish-brown in color with a light yellow underside.

Mouse vs. Rat Behavior

Families of mice consist of one dominant male, several females, and their young. Rats live in similar colony structures. However, rats and mice have different nesting preferences.

Several behaviors may indicate whether there is a mouse vs. a rat problem. Norway rats, for example, stay around the lower levels of homes, while roof rats prefer higher elevations like attics. Mice, on the other hand, simply build their nests close to food sources. Many rats fear new things in their environment, while mice are often curious.

Contamination & Disease

Any mouse or rat has the ability to pollute food with its feces, urine, saliva, and fur. Rodents contaminate an estimated 20 percent of the world's food. Rats and mice are also vectors for a wide range of diseases such as plague and rat-bite fever. Additionally, they carry parasites like fleas, ticks, lice, and mites.

Control of Rats and Mice

Whether homeowners have mouse or rat issues, removal is a necessity. The technicians at Critter Control are experts in dealing with rodent infestations and can determine the best course of action to deter rats and mice from entering homes.

Learn more about mouse removal.