The Difference Between Mice And Rats
Though differences between mice and rats seem obvious to many, it is worth noting that some of the differences may be more negligible than you think. Both mice and rats are from the rodent family and they can cause extensive damage once they appear in your home. But if you find them in your home, would you be able to determine which one you have? Distinguishing mice and rats is important especially when you plan to treat them.
What is the difference in size between rats and mice?
The very first distinguishing point that we will talk about is of course the differences in size. The typical House Mouse (Mus musculus) is usually from two or four inches in length or even larger. On the other hand, Norway Rat measures seven to nine inches in length.
It is also worth mentioning that these differences are obvious mainly if they are of adult size. But a juvenile Norway Rat that has not reached full size yet can look similar to an adult House Mouse.
Another difference that you can see at a glance is their appearance. For example, mice will have more of a triangular nose whereas a rat’s nose is blunter. In addition, when it comes to ears, mice have larger, floppy ears. At the same time, rats have larger ears compared to those of mice, but they are not that large compared to their own body. Moreover, mice tend to have long, thin, and hairy tails, whereas rat tails are usually hairless and scaly.
Which reproduce faster, mice or rats?
Due to female mice’s short lifespan of 1.5 to 2.5 years, she can produce more than 300 offspring. They have a gestating period of 19 to 21 days. Moreover, these offspring begin mating as early as 4 weeks of age. As you can conclude, a couple of mice can produce a large population quickly. So, on average, you are looking at least 32 to 56 pups each year from one female mouse. In addition, mice usually live about 9 to 12 months.
But, mice can't compete with rats. In one short year, a pair of rats can produce as many as 2,000 descendants. They breed year-round too, and they reach breeding age within about 5 weeks. About 3 weeks after getting pregnant, a female rat will give birth to a litter of 3 to 14 pups. The roof rat has smaller litters of up to eight young and can have eight litters per year. Rats can live up to 12 to 18 months.
What problems do mice and rats cause?
Although both mice and rats are considered to be damage to your home, rats tend to do more damage, since they are bigger and have stronger teeth. To clarify the strength of the rats, just imagine that they can chew blocks, aluminum, concrete, and brick. However, those little mice can do some pretty significant damage as well. Mice can deface stored items in the attic, wooden structures, and will even chew on wiring. The latter can cause a house fire. So, it is not a good idea to have either of these two rodents in your home.
Then, when that mouse travels around your home seeking nesting materials, food, and water, it will leave behind urine trails and fecal droppings.
On the other hand, rodent droppings can spread diseases and viruses, including those listed below, including Hantavirus, Bubonic plague, Salmonellosis, Rat-Bite Fever. These diseases can be passed on by direct contact such as rat bites or unsafe handling and disposal of infected dead rats.
And finally, the simplest way to fight rodents is rodent trapping. Just place rodent traps that are out of reach of people and pets, but in areas that rats or mice frequent. For rodent problems outside your home or business, you can use tamper-resistant traps that will capture the rodent but are safe for wildlife, pets, and children. There are also natural repellents to repel rodents.