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The Differences Between Mice And Rats (2023)

Deer Mouse
House Mouse
Norway Rat

Many people misidentify mice and rats which is understandable because they’re both small rodents and they both enter structures. Identification can also be difficult because they are excellent hiders, they’re skittish, and they move quickly. This article will help you navigate the differences between Minnesota and Wisconsin’s most common mice (House Mouse & Deer Mouse) and the most common rat (Norway rat).

Mouse Size Compared To Rat Size 

Typically mice are much smaller than rats. Here are some size comparisons:

Adult Deer Mouse: Head/body length of 2.75-4 in, tail length of 2-5 in

Adult House Mouse: Head/body length of 2.5-3.5 in, tail length of 2.75-4 in

Norway Rat: Head/body length of 7-9.5 inches, tail length of 6-8 inches

Seeing the difference in size can be easy enough when mice and rats are adults, but can be more difficult when factoring juvenile mice and rats. For example, a juvenile rat may be around the size of an adult mouse. 

Mouse Tail Compared To Rat Tail

Generally, deer and house mice have a tail that is longer than the length of its body/head while a Norway rat does not. Another differentiator is that mice have hair on their tails while rats have a hairless, scaly tail.

Mouse Ears Compared To Rat Ears

Mice tend to have larger ears than rats and they are even more prominent compared to the mouse’s smaller body.

Mouse Droppings Compared To Rat Droppings

Mouse droppings (<¼ inch) are significantly smaller than rat droppings (½ inch or larger).

The Importance Of Proper Identification

We understand that these differences can be hard to see for most people, but having the correct identification is crucial. Behaviorally, mice and rats can act quite differently. For example, mice tend to be more curious and rats tend to be more cautious which means two different treatment approaches are needed to take care of the issue.

This where Adam’s Pest Control can help! If you have a picture of the rodent, you can fill out a form and send the picture through our website (, otherwise Adam’s can send a technician to identify your pest. After identification, one of our expert technicians will solve the problem and prevent them from entering in the future!

If You See Signs Of Rodents, Don’t Wait!

Rodents reproduce very quickly so if you do see signs in your home or business, it’s important to identify and address your rodent issue early. Adam’s friendly staff has the expertise, tools, and materials to quickly identify and solve your rodent issue. Remember, even if you only see one rodent, there’s probably more.

If you’re dealing with rodent issues, you can contact us any of the following ways:


Phone: 763-76-9512


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