Rodents

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Rat vs Mouse

What is the Difference Between a Rat and Mouse?

Rat and mouse are by far the most prevalent pests at homes and businesses worldwide due to their highly adaptive behaviour to the human environment. As mouse is not commonly found in Malaysia, many people often confused between these two rodent species.

All rodents have the common identifying feature of a pair of incisor teeth in the upper jaw. They tend to have short legs and a long tail, but a closer look at their body characteristics and habits show that they have easily distinguishable features that you can use to identify their differences.

Feeding Habits

  • Brown rat

    • Omnivorous
    • Tends to seek food in the same places, making baiting easier
    • Drinks about 60ml water a day

  • House mouse

    • Omnivorous 
    • When eating, it ‘kibbles’ the grain by removing the outer husk to eat the white endosperm inside 
    • Tends to seek food in the same places
    • Doesn’t need to drink water but will drink about 3ml if available

Living Habits

  • Brown rat

    • Usually lives on the ground and burrows. It occurs throughout buildings, in sewer systems and outdoors.
    • Their burrowing can cause extensive damage to the sewers.
    • Brown rat tends to walk on the pads of their feet and the surfaces that it travels along show continuous smudges from their oily fur.

  • House mouse

    • Usually lives on the ground and nests in burrows, but is agile and can climb.
    • In heavy infestations, grease from the body combined with dirt and urine can build into small pillars.
    • A mouse has smaller footprint than a rat.

Droppings

The droppings of both mammals differ in size and shape, according to the body size, with the brown rat’s wider and larger and the mouse’s are small elongated pellets.

Breeding

Mice reach sexual maturity earlier, produce larger and more litters in a year, making them more prolific than rats. The new born of both rodents are blind, hairless and completely dependent on the mother for feeding and protection.


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