Rats vs Mice: Get rid of them, Identification, & Differences

So, you just saw something run across the floor of your travel trailer. It wasn’t running slow. You did not like what you saw. 

But what did you see? Was it a bug, a scorpion, or something else?

field mouse

Okay, you could probably tell the difference between a bug and a scorpion. However, can you tell the difference between mice and rats? Do you know how to get of them and identify one from the other?

Do you know the differences between mice and rats and what they’re drawn to? 

Here’s the ultimate article on rats versus mice, including their differences and how to identify one. Mice may have a reputation as being cute, whereas rats are seen as nasty. 

Why is it that we’re seeing them differently? What are the best products you can use if you experience them running around your home?

Best products to get rid of rats & mice

Before we’re done, you’ll know how to identify them. However, you need to know that you won’t do the same to get rid of them. 

Let’s say if you’re seeing something massive, it’s probably a rat. Given their size differences, it should come as no surprise that they also require different devices to take care of the issue. 

Something made for a mouse probably won’t be able to take care of a rat. However, a bigger device can also take care of a smaller creature that makes its way into the trap.

During the research for this article, we saw people that constructed their own mouse traps. However, would you rather get something that works or know that these animals are running around? 

Therefore, here’s the long-awaited product recommendation.

Rat Zapper


The rat zapper is by far our favorite for a couple of reasons. We know it works with thousands and thousands of reviews and having tested it. It even works great.

However, it also achieves something that alternative products don’t. It’s both easy to use, and it’s not nasty. 

As advertised, it’s a “no-touch” trap that will give you a lot of peace of mind. With the more primitive models, you’re not just getting out of it. You’ll have to deal with the mouse once it’s been trapped. 

This savior leaves no mess, and there are no chemicals or anything poisonous. You throw out the remains once you’re done. 

It’s definitely not the cheapest option on the market. If you don’t like the idea of a dead rat, it’s well worth spending a little bit extra money.

You’ll have to take it to the trash afterward, and your problem is gone. 

So, how does it work? It’s pretty simple. You put the bait in the trap, turn it on, and wait for the music to play. The animal will trigger a sensor, and a continuous shock will get the job done. 

Are you impressed by the ease as well? We definitely were! You will also want to follow the recommendations regarding where to place the traps. 

Rats are generally more cautious than mice, which will impact how easy they are to catch. They’ll need some convincing even if they are looking for food. 

Mouse Trap by Briteen

The trap by Briteen is pretty conventional. There’s nothing wild or surprising about it, but it is effective. That is when you’re only dealing with mice.

If you’ve got rats, that’s a different story. If you do have mice, they’re great. They’re made from sturdy stainless steel and will not disappoint.

You couldn’t be getting a better deal to take care of your smaller rodent friends at this price. They’ll be gone in no time, and you’ll have the house to yourself once again.

Similar to the traps we included above, these are electric. There are other, more primitive options out there.

Those traps do not work nearly as well. I repeat. Those traps do not work.

These traps are much more humane than some more primitive traps. When you get those, you’ll often leave the animal suffering for a long period. For as much as you want to get the house back to yourself, there’s no reason to inflict pain on other creatures in the process. 

Or that is, unnecessary pain should be avoided. Get it over with, and get it over with quick.

You’re also getting six traps, so you know you’ve got enough to set them up around the house. They’re both easy to clean and reusable. You can get bigger packs, too. We just thought that six should probably be good to get you started. It’s especially because they’re reusable.

How do you identify mice vs. rats?

We’ve already told you that one is bigger than the other. However, how do you identify mice versus rats? 

Which animal do you believe this is?

Let’s look at their characteristics so you can better understand their differences. Are you ready? 

If you’ve ever been disgusted by the potential size of a rat, you’re not alone. They are nasty creatures, and they can be big.

  • How big? Adult ones can grow up to 18 inches, so you’ll be dealing with a big rodent if that’s the case. However, it does include the tail. 
  • On the other hand, mice do not usually grow bigger than 7½ inches. It’s still quite big, but there’s still a massive size difference. 
  • Are you seeing something running across the floor, and you think it’s roughly 12 inches long? You can be pretty confident it’s not the smaller brother you’re dealing with.
  • If you come close enough, you may notice their tails. Mice will have skinnier ones than rats do, and they’re only a little bit hairy. 
  • When dealing with a rat, they’re hairless and scaly. They’re also much thicker.
  • If the nose is blunt and rounded, it’s a rat. Mice will have cuter, triangular noses instead.
  • Rats and mice can come in a lot of the same colors, including brown and gray. Rats can also be black.
  • With them being significantly bigger, it should come as no surprise that they also way a lot more.
  • Large floppy ears will be an indication that you’re dealing with a mouse.
  • Both animals are nocturnal, although a mouse will seem a lot more timid. I still know which animal I would rather have an encounter with!
  • If you’re seeing an animal that has relatively small ears for its size, it’s probably a rat you’re dealing with. However, it’s just a younger one. Their ears are distinctly less floppy. Another sign is if it has both larger feet and a head. You’ll want to get the bigger trap in those instances to ensure you’re getting rid of the whole colony. 

The species of the animal will determine what color it can be. Black animals should be taken more seriously. The individual species will also influence things like the size of the body and the length of the tail. You’re better off considering all the various distinctions in order to accurately identify whether you’re dealing with a mouse or a rat. 

pet rat

Here’s an easy-to-read table that will help you identify which animal you are dealing with.

EarsLarge and floppyTheir ears are larger. However, they’re smaller compared to their overall size.
TailThin and hairyScaly and thick
Droppings¼ inch¾ inch
BehaviorMore timidLess timid
ColorsWhite, Brown, & grayIt can also be black
SizeUp to 8½ inchesUp to 18 inches

Rat vs. Mouse Droppings

If it wasn’t bad enough already, there’s also their droppings. Rats will leave droppings that are about ¾ inch. They’re pretty sizeable. 

Droppings from mice are roughly ¼ inch. They’re more pointed, whereas rat droppings have blunt ends. Ew!

The size and the shape will indicate the type of animal you’re dealing with. They’re both dark in color so that they won’t reveal the species. If they are moist, you will want to ensure you get the traps ordered as soon as possible. 

It will mean you still have additional animal friends living underneath your roof. When they’re dry, the moisture will have evaporated. You may be so lucky that they’re no longer living there. 

You’ve discovered you have an infestation. Now what?

The sooner you get anything done, the sooner you get rid of the infestation. However, there are several reasons to do it now and not put it off. 

Let’s take a closer look at why you don’t want rodents running around.

They can actually be more damaging to the structure than you might have imagined. Much like myself, these creatures don’t like the cold.

It means they’ll go where there’s less cold when the weather cools down – inside. 

Besides being nasty, they can cause a lot of damage. The structure of the house is fair game for them, and wires and insulation are often damaged. Exposed wire can cause a significant fire hazard simply because you didn’t deal with the rodents.

They’re also known to go after pipes, insulation, and drywall. Do you have that in your house? Well, they’ll chew away at it. 

Did you think they were going to stay away from your personal belongings? Think again! Furniture and clothing are at risk, among other things.

They’re often carrying disease, too. Salmonellosis and Hantavirus are some of the diseases they may be infected with. You should take it very seriously when you start seeing droppings.

I’d rather spend $50 on a trap rather than putting your family at risk of fire damage. They produce so quickly that you can quickly get a much larger infestation on your hands. 

With each female mouse being able to have 8 litter, they multiply. An untreated rodent problem can suddenly become something very costly. Rats also reproduce rather quickly, and I surely know I don’t want 18-inch monsters in my home!

I don’t want one, and I don’t want a whole infestation either.

Baby rat vs. mouse

It’s true that they’re harder to tell apart when they’re roughly the same size. If you look in the selection above, you’ll still be able to see how you can tell a baby rat apart from a mouse. 

The tale is one thing to look at, and the ears are another. It’s never fun to have an infestation. Hopefully, you’re now able to tell if you have one or the other.


There are many misconceptions about these creatures. Here we’ll do a quick run-through of some of the common questions we’ve found. 

You probably already know the answer to some of the questions if you’ve read the entire article. It does introduce some information you may not have thought of yet.

Are mice blind?

No, they are not blind. They don’t have great vision despite not having great vision. They also do better at night as a consequence.

How big are rats?

They’re sometimes as big as 15-20 inches. However, 20 inches is only a particular species. Worse, they can carry a disease that causes muscle pain and other problems. You will want to take action when you see a Norway rat. They’re fierce as they go after anything from birds to various types of plants.

Do rats eat mice?

Rats are nasty creatures, and they do eat mice. They’re both omnivores and competing for the same food sources. They eat so much food that it measures up to about 10% of their entire body weight – every single day. To a rat, a mouse looks like an easy meal. 

Both types of animals are pretty notorious eaters. Follow the recommendations on the various traps when you’re loading it up with bait. Seeds and grains are more popular food choices than cheese. They’ll also eat things so nasty we won’t even be going into them here!

Given that rats eat mice, it’s no surprise that the two do not get along. Both animals are very territorial and prefer to have space to themselves.

How big can a mouse get?

A mouse can get to be as big as 8½ inches. However, it’s not all that common. It’s a lot more common when they’re about 5 inches long. The bigger the animal, the higher the probability that it is not a mouse you’re dealing with.

Is a rat a rodent?

Yes, they are. What’s worse is that they pee everywhere.

How fast can a rat run?

They can go rather quickly. At their top speed, they can reach roughly 8 miles per hour. It’s surprising that they can go that fast, considering their short limbs.

They’re pretty impressive jumpers who can jump as high as 36 inches. Did you think something was off-limits for the animal? They can also jump 48 inches horizontally. They’ll also need to fall from a serious height to be injured. 

Do mice turn into rats?

No, mice and rats are not the same things. They are entirely different animals. You may be surprised that they cannot cross-breed even if they can sometimes be hard to tell apart. You wouldn’t want to breed with someone anyway if they were looking to eat you, would you?