What Is the Difference Between a Rat and a Mouse?

There are many differences between rats and mice, such as their size, behavior and the shape of their snouts. Mice are typically between 4 to 8 inches long, including their tails, with snouts that are triangular in shape. Rats have blunt snouts and are much larger, growing to almost 16 inches long.

The difference between rats and mice go beyond physical characteristics. Scientists have found that the two rodents have very different behavioral traits. Rats tend to exhibit more caution, while mice tend to be curious and investigate their surroundings. Rats take time to become accustomed to their surroundings. This explains why a mouse is caught much quicker than a rat when a trap is set.

Mice are also able to breed more often than rats. A female mouse can give birth 10 times a year, while a female rat averages only six gestational periods. However, rats tend to live longer, up to 1.5 years, while the average life expectancy of the mouse is nine to 12 months.

Mice are very afraid of rats and do not inhabit the same area for fear of being eaten. Rats give off a scent that not only alerts the mouse that the rat is nearby, but also creates a negative effect on the reproduction and behaviour of the mouse.