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Rats vs Mice Basics: Understanding Their Differences

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little white mouse in a red shawl or fabric, just face visible There isn’t such thing as a good rodent infestation in your home, but they’re not all the same. Rats and mice are both gross. Well, mice are a little cute. Their other differences will dictate how you keep them out of your home.

When it comes to their attitudes, physical characteristics, and breeding tendencies, it helps to know how they differ. Please read on to hear from one of the leading pest control companies in Toronto and the GTA about what makes rats and mice distinct.


When you’re trying to trap an animal, it helps to know how they like to behave. What their tendencies are, and their general characteristics. In a nutshell, rats are cautious and circumspect, while mice are curious.

Rats need time to get used to things before investigating them. If you put a set trap in their ordinary paths, they won’t bite. It’s more effective to place unset traps before them so they get accustomed to the traps. Then, when you bait them and set the snare, they’ll bite.

In contrast, mice are curious creatures who will nibble on whatever you put in front of them. These hungry, trusting creatures are easier to trap! GreenLeaf Pest Control can take care of all the mice in the garage and any that made it further indoors, too.

Hunters need to understand the tendencies and behaviours of those they’re trapping, and that’s something Green Leaf Pest Control takes seriously.

Physical Traits

Mice and rats differ in size and shape. There’s also variance within each species. For example, the Norway rat in Ontario tends to be larger than roof rats, and they can be a major nuisance in the winter because they’re desperate for a warm place to wait out Canada’s cold winter.

Norway rats have heavy, thick bodies, whereas roof rats are smaller and thinner. The Norway rat has a blunt snout and short ears, while the roof rat has a pointed snout and larger ears. Norway rats also have dark tails that are pale underneath, while the tails of roof rats are dark all over.

House mice have small heads and feet, with pointed snouts and large ears. They’re much smaller than rats — the average Norway rat weighs 11 ounces, while a house mouse weighs half an ounce. You should be able to easily tell the difference between a mouse and a rat since they’re very different colours and sizes.

But it helps to know what type of rats are nearby, so you know how to get rid of them. If you have any doubts, contact GreenLeaf Pest Control today!


Rats are anything but picky eaters! They dine on just about everything, though they prefer fresh grains and meat. They must get between half an ounce to an ounce of fluid per day, or they’ll find it by drinking water.

Mice prefer cereal grains and plants but also eat just about everything. There’s a reason cartoon mouse traps are filled with cheese — they are cheese eaters. Actually, rats can eat mice, and the smell of rats can be enough to keep mice away.

It’s almost like everybody has a rat phobia, humans and other animals, too. We know how to use the foods they like to trap mice and rats effectively, so call GreenLeaf Pest Control to keep your home pest-free.

You’ve got food all around your home that rats and mice would do anything to get their hands on! Let us feed the traps, so you don’t feed the pests.

Nesting and Breeding

Rats and mice have different tendencies in terms of where and how they live, which homeowners should understand. Mice build secret nests near a food source, so they quietly camp out nearby. They use soft materials to build their nests, such as finely shredded paper.

Unlike mice, Norway rats tend to burrow. They dig holes near fences, buildings, and under plants, then live in these spaces. Roof rats tend to live in walls, attics, and trees. They get their name because they live in the upper parts of a home, rather than underground, like Norway rats.

Rats can live for around two years in the wild, but they breed often and intensely. Rats can breed from the time they’re three months old and tend to do so in spring. The roof rat has smaller litters of a maximum of eight young but has as many as six litters per year.

A female Norway rat can have seven litters of up to 12 young. Rats may have short lives, but they make the most of them! It’s winter now, so the rats may be digging under your property or living in its upper parts. They’re also preparing to breed soon!

a brown little mouse in the wild, on a log

In other words, if you have a rat problem now, it’s only going to get a lot worse soon. Between the icky presence and various rat diseases, call us to keep your home clean and ensure it promotes good health. Rats have been associated with spreading illnesses for centuries, and not without good reason.

Make sure they don’t make a home out of your home. Whether they burrow nearby or set up shop in the home proper, nothing good comes from being close to pests. Some rats only need a hole of about a half-inch in diameter to squeeze through and enter, so the idea they burrow shouldn’t give you too much comfort. They don’t need much of an opening, and they’ll take whatever they can.

Finding pests in your home is always deeply unsettling, no matter what type. They can damage your property by gnawing on wood, they leave waste behind, and rummaging through your home in search of food. Between spreading sicknesses and being repulsive to behold, finding mice or rats where you live and be deeply disturbing and disruptive. To eliminate the infestation rather than just put a dent in their population, call GreenLeaf Pest Control today for the best Toronto rat control there is!

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