Difference Between Rat and Mouse (With Table)

All of you have seen mice and rats at some point in time during your life. Since both of them fall under the category of rodents, most of you believe that they are similar to each other.

However, there are several points of difference between the two types of rodents. Although all of you may say that mice and rats differ from each other in terms of their size, it will be tough to distinguish between a rat and a big sized mouse.

Rat vs Mouse

The difference between Rat and Mouse is that mice vary in size ranging from 12cm to 20cm. On the other hand, rats have a size of around 40cm. Even the size of their heads is different to some extent. The primary difference between the two types of rodents lies in their heads.

The head of a mouse is way smaller than the size of a rat’s head in relation to its overall body. The head of a rat is much heavier and also shaped slightly differently from that of a mouse’s head.

The heads of mice are rather tiny, triangular with a pointy nose. Rats, on the other hand, have chunky, heavy, and blunt heads. However, mice are fortunate to have bigger sized ears as compared to rats. The ears of a mouse are much bigger in comparison to the overall size of their body.


Comparison Table Between Rat and Mouse (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonRatMouse
DefinitionThese are normally medium-sized rodents with long tails.These are small-sized rodents with scaly and body-length tail and a pointed snout.
SizeGrows to around 40cm or even more.Size ranges from 12cm to 20cm.
NatureNocturnal in nature.Nocturnal and timid by nature.
ColorWhite, brown, black or gray.Gray, brown, and white.
Tail StructureLong and usually scaly and hairless tail.Thin, hairy, and long tail.
Snout StructureHas a blunt snout.Has a triangular-shaped snout with rather long whiskers.
Production Of DroppingsProduces 20 to 50 droppings each day.Produces 40 to 100 droppings daily.


What is a Rat?

When you talk about rats, these are those large-sized rodents that appear somewhat similar to a mouse. However, unlike a mouse, a rat would seldom appear inside homes.

These are normally found in locked or abandoned factories and around shops and storehouses. Rats are medium-sized rodents that may grow to almost 40cm or even bigger.

One of the primary areas of difference between a mouse and a rat is the size. Rats are bigger than a mouse and also weight much more than the latter category of rodents.

Amongst the several species of rats, the two of the most popular species are the black rat or Rattus rattus, and Rattus norvegicus or the brown rat.

You need to remember that the term rats is used to point out other types of mammals that are not exactly rats.

These include kangaroo rats that are a large number of species and North American pack rats that are primarily wood rats.


What is a Mouse?

A mouse is another type of rodent that is normally characterized by its small physical structure and pointed snout. These small-sized rodents are rather timid by nature and have small rounded ears.

One of the most popular amongst various species of mice is the house mouse, which is also known as Mus musculus. Some people also have this species of a mouse as their pets and scientists use it for various experimentation purposes.

If you believe that mice and rats are the same, then you are highly mistaken. A mouse is way smaller in size than a rat.

They are also commonly found in houses, especially the kitchen area. On the other hand, rats are mostly found in empty storehouses and factories. Some animals and birds, such as wild dogs, snakes, eagles, and cats prey on mice.

The natural ability of mice to adapt to any environment makes it one of the most popular and successful mammalian that lives on this planet.

Mice are also termed as vermin due to their large-scale ability to spread diseases and causing structural damages to crops and various other things through their feces and parasites.

Main Differences Between Rat and Mouse

  1. Both mice and rats fall under the category of rodents and vary largely in terms of their physical sizes. Rats measure around 40cm and mice measure between 12cm to 20cm. The head of a mouse is also smaller in size as compared to the head of a rat.
  2. The head of a mouse is smaller and mostly triangular. They also have sharper snouts as compared to rats. Whereas, rats have larger heads that are chunky and heavier than that of a mouse. They also have flatter snouts.
  3. The fur quality of a mouse is much softer than that of a rat’s, which normally have coarse furs. The color of their fur also varies to a great extent. Mice are normally found in white, gray, brown, and black, whereas, rats have normally black, brown, and gray fur.
  4. Apart from the overall body structure, the weight of mice and rats also vary from each other. The average of a mouse ranges from 30gm to 90gm, whereas, the average weight of a rate ranges from 350gm to 650gm.
  5. Comparatively, the tail of a mouse appears to be longer than that of a rat. However, in reality, the measure of a mouse’s tail is shorter than a rat’s tail. Nonetheless, the length of a mouse’s tail is longer with comparison to its physical size.



Now that you know about the primary differences between a mouse and a rat, you will be able to make out which one is a mouse and which one is a rat when you see one. Although both fall under the category of rodents, they have several differences between them. These differences are not just limited to their size.

Mice and rats also weigh differently and have different natures. The former is timider and the latter are rather careful regarding everything.



  1. https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/rodents/house-mice/
  2. https://www.orkin.com/rodents/mouse-control/house-mouse
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