What is the difference between a rat and a mouse?

Mice and rats are both rodents with very similar behaviours and habits. However, there are some critical differences between them, especially when it comes to dealing with an infestation on your property.

The most readily apparent difference between mice and rats is their size. Mice are much smaller than rats and can make themselves even smaller by compressing their bodies. Their little bodies are perfect for squeezing through narrow gaps and gaining access to properties via any opening available to them. Rats have much larger bodies; they aren’t as agile as mice, nor are they able to compress their bodies to the same extent when presented with a narrow opening.

It’s worth noting that young rats and large mice can often look very similar in terms of size. There are two species of rat found in Britain; the black rat and the brown rat. The black rat has a more slender body and is often mistaken for a mouse. The easiest way of differentiating between the two is that rats have more prominent ears than mice at any stage of their lives. They also have shorter tails than mice. Even a young mouse will have a longer tail than a rat.

Both mice and rats have a tendency to gnaw on anything they can get their teeth on, but whereas mice can only chew through relatively soft materials, rats possess a  much more powerful bite and strong teeth that can work through much tougher materials than mice can. Rat’s teeth don’t stop growing for their entire lives; they need to gnaw on whatever they can to keep their teeth at the right length. Because of their ability to work their way through relatively resilient materials, rats can chew their way through thin walls and other barriers. They will also gnaw through many types of container to get at food.

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