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Mice are not commonly found in Malaysia in contrast with rats, but it is easy to confuse between these two species of rodents because they do look similar from an apparent level.

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.

What do mice look like?


The easiest distinguishing feature is the small size of the house mouse at 3-10 cm long.

However, a mouse can be confused with a young rat.

  • A mature mouse can be distinguished from a young rat by its larger ears and longer tail compared to its body length than the rat.
  • A young rat also has distinctly larger feet and head compared to the body than a mouse.
  • Mice are usually light grey or brown in colour with a lighter shade on their bellies.

What do rats look like?

Brown rat:

The brown rat is larger than the ship rat and they have the following differing body features:

  • thicker body;
  • tail shorter than length of head + body; 
  • paler colour underneath the tail; 
  • small hairy ears; 
  • blunt nose.

Black rat:

On the other hand, the black rat has these features:

Black rat
  • slender body;
  • large thin ears;
  • pointed nose;
  • tail longer than head and body.

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.


Rat VS Mouse 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.


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.

Do you have a rodent infestation and need help to eliminate it? Call us today on 1300 881 911 (business) or 1300 881 911 (home). Alternatively contact us online to describe your rodent issues.

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