mice rats

Mice vs. Rats

The most common rodent pests in the U.S are the Norway rat, the roof rat, and the house mouse. Small mouse traps will work for mice but not for bigger critters like rats; that’s why we should purchase our bigger trap for them right here. Also, rat traps set on the floor won’t catch roof rats. That is why knowing the difference between rats and mice is crucial. 

First, find out by looking at the physical characteristics to find whether it’s a mouse or a rat.

 

Physical Characteristics​

The Norway Rat vs. The Roof Rat

The Norway rat has a massive and thick body, a blunt snout, and short ears covered with dark hair.

Their body is brown with black shading, and their tail is dark on top and pale underneath.

The Roof rat has a slim body, a pointed snout, and a large that isn’t covered in hair. Their body is grey with black shading, and their tail is dark. 

The House mouse has a small head, small feet, a pointed snout, and large ears covered in some hair. Their body is light brown with some grey shading, and their tail is dark.

You can usually find the Deer mouse/ field mouse along the west coast, from Mexico to the northwest territories of Canada. It has a bi-colored tail covered in very short hair. Their fur color can be pale gray to deep red on the head and back and white on their stomachs.

The Western Harvest mouse is usually found along the western border of North America, from southwest Canada through California and Arizona, down into Mexico. He has a brownish with buff sides, his stomach is white, and he has a faint white stripe along the spine.

You can usually find the White Footed mouse/Wood Mouse in wooded areas or warm and dry places. 

The California mouse body is mostly brown mixed with black hairs. His stomach is creamy – white. Also, his hands and feet are white.

Now that we’ve got it figured out, here are some important things you should know to capture your rodent settler. 

Behavior

Mice

Mice are curious and love investigating new things that come in their way. That’s why you should set the trap right in their path. If you haven’t caught a mouse in the first couple of days, the trap wasn’t in their way. Move it to a different location.

Rats

Rats are very careful rodents. They will avoid anything new in their way until they have gotten used to it being there. That’s why you should place unset traps in the rat’s path before setting rat traps.

Habitat and Breeding

Mice

Mice favorite food is cereal grain and plants. But they’ll eat absolutely anything!


They nest in hidden areas close to food sources. They use soft materials like shredded paper to build their nest.


In one year, a female mouse can give birth to 60 babies! Mice can start reproducing at the age of six weeks.

Rats

They need a ½ to one ounce of fluid a day to survive. If they can’t find this amount of fluids in their food, they have to find a source of water.

The rats dig under buildings, fences, and plants.

The Norway rat tends to live in burrows and the Roof rat nests in walls, attics, and trees.

In one year, a female Norway rat can give birth to 70 rats! Norway rats start reproducing at the age of 3 months. They breed mainly in the spring. The roof rat can give birth to 64 babies!

Movement

Mice

Mice can stand up on their hind legs when supported by their tails to eat, fight, or to figure out where they are. They’re also excellent jumpers, swimmers and climbers. They even climb up rough, vertical surfaces. They can even run along wires, cables, and ropes.


If they are frightened, they’ll start running.


Mice are night creatures and are mostly active at night time. They don’t like bright lights, but they’ll come during the day to look for food or if their nest is disturbed.


A mouse can slip through tiny holes and gaps.

Rats

Rats can enter a building through a hole as small as 1/2 inch in diameter. They’re strong swimmers – so they can live in sewers and enter buildings through broken drains and toilets. To get their food, water or shelter they’ll climb! Because they very suspicious creatures they follow the same path each day. They tend to stay within 300 feet of their nest or burrow.

Sign up for our newsletter to get more rodent tips.