Just three rat and mouse species account for the vast majority of the specimens pest controllers deal with, not just in the UK but worldwide. Both rats and mice are incredibly adept at finding their way into homes, businesses, and every type of property in between. These rodent’s ability to adapt to human environments and take advantage of the food, water, shelter, and warmth that we provide has enabled them to thrive in urban environments. Both mice and rats favour similar environments, but they are quite different animals. Their habits, habitats, and behaviours all differ slightly from one another, as does their physical appearance.
If you get a good look at a rodent, you should be able to determine whether it’s a rat or a mouse relatively easily. While rats have larger bodies than mice, their ears are smaller. Mice also have thinner tails that are covered in fine hairs, whereas rats have thicker hairless tails.
Mice like to build their nests in underground burrows when living outdoors. However, if they find their way into your home, they will seek out somewhere dark, warm, and sheltered to build their nests. Rats rarely make their nests inside people’s properties, preferring to nest nearby and enter the property as needed. However, if conditions are right, they have no problem setting themselves up in an inhabited home.
Rats and mice also have different feeding habits, which affect their behaviour. Mice can survive on minimal amounts of food, but they need to eat frequently. Rats, meanwhile, eat less often but require more food to sustain themselves. Mice can also get all the water they need from the food they eat—even seemingly dry foods like seeds and grains. But rats need to take on their water independently of their food and require more of it than mice.