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November 28, 2016

The names “rat” and “mouse” are the common names for two separate rodents that look alike to the casual eye, but are quite different in actuality. While both rats and mice are rodents, they have some significant genetic differences that cannot be seen to the naked eye at all — rats have 21 pairs of chromosomes and mice have 20 chromosomal pairs. Another major difference between the two that can actually be seen is their size. Rats grow to a body of 7 to 9 inches with a 6 to 8 inch tail (the tail is typically shorter than the body length), and mice rarely grow more than a body of 3 inches with a 3 inch tail.

The next key difference to notice is the color between the two. Rats tend to be gray with white bellies, turning more brown or even black as they age. Mice are usually brown or grey with more brown in their coloring to begin with and have darker bellies in comparison. The next thing to notice is the differences in the tail. A rat’s tail is thicker, dark, and hairless with scales while a mouse’s is quite opposite being tan and smooth covered with small hairs. A few final differences between the two is that a rat’s ears are small relative to their body and their feet are also longer in proportion to their body.

As far as behavioral differences go, rats are very cautious in comparison to mice. On the contrary, mice are curious and will investigate anything new while rats will go out of their way to avoid new things in its path. Knowing this difference is a main key in how and where to set traps for these critters. An infestation is often deciphered between the two by paying close attention to the size of the droppings that are found. Some similar signs of both rats and mice include droppings, gnawing, and tracks, but rats may also be noticed due to their runways and burrows.

Both rats and mice are nocturnal critters and have poor eyesight, but both of their smell, taste, and hearing senses are strong. Rats tend to have a slightly longer life span compared with mice. Both of these rodents are found throughout the world in varying environments, so any home providing warmth, a food source, and shelter for the critters may be at risk. A few tips to avoid both rats and mice include installing door sweeps, repairing damaged screens, storing food (including pet food) in airtight containers, dispose of garbage regularly, and keeping attics, basements, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.

It is extremely important to know the differences between these two critters because at many times they need to also be treated for in different ways in order to completely eradicate the rodent problem. If you notice any unwanted rodents in or around your property, do not hesitate to call the professionals at Black Diamond! Our technicians can spot the differences between these two on the spot and take care of any pest and wildlife issues you may be having.