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Mice and rats share a lot of key physical traits, but they are undoubtedly their own entities. If you closely examine mice and rats up close -- even if you zero in on just their ears -- you'll see it with your own eyes. These small rodents are not interchangeable.
Most Common Rats and Mice
Rats and mice both exist in a wide assortment of different species. In terms of abundance, however, house mice (Mus musculus) and Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) have the rest of the species beat. House mice are significantly smaller than Norway rats.
Rat and mice ears don't look exactly the same, but they do share one thing in common, and that's the general shape. These two varieties of rodents both have ears that are markedly rounded in form.
Differences in proportion also could be handy hints for noting the differences in rat and mice ears. When you look at a rat's body in comparison to its ears, his physique usually looks substantial. Mice are different in this respect, as their ears tend to overwhelm their wee bodies. Although mice might have bigger ears proportionally speaking, rats ears are often technically bigger, thanks to their larger overall size.
Mouse ears are notable for their overwhelming size, and rat ears also have some key distinguishing factors. Rat ears are usually adorned in extremely thin hairs. Their ears also generally feel extremely thick. Mouse ears often do not have a lot in terms of hair -- their physiques are much furrier than their ears.
Other Key Physical Differences
The physical differences in rats and mice don't begin and end at body size and ears. Mice usually have big, protruding eyes, while rats' eyes are often tiny and beady. Mouse tails also generally exceed their bodies in length, while rat tails are more likely to be squat and stubby in appearances. Mice also have sharper snouts than rats. Mice bodies are usually uniform in coloration, although rats usually have paler undersides and darker upper bodies. Mice and rats are often grayish-brown in basic color.
- American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association: Beginners' Corner
- Daily Reading Comprehension; Lisa Klobuchar, Camille Liscinsky and James Spears
- Illinois Department of Public Health Prevention & Control: Municipal Rodent Management
- Lewisham Council: Rats, Mice, What's the Difference?
- University of Nebraska - Lincoln Pesticide Safety Education Program: IPM for Rats and Mice
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images