Mouse Vs. Rat

Difference Between Mouse And Rat

Mouse, a name applied to many varieties of small rodents, particularly those in the family Muridae. Containing 1,326 species, grouped into 281 genera, the family comprises about 30% of all currently recognized mammalian species. Most larger family members are called rats. Muridae belongs to the order Rodentia, in the class Mammalia.

House mice vary in size, with a head-and-body length that ranges from 2.5 to 4 inches (6.5 to 10 cm), a tail length of 2 to 4 inches (6 to 10 cm), and a weight of 0.5 to 1 ounce (12 to 30 grams). Features include a pointed head; prominent ears; a long, scaly tail with short, soft hairs; and, commonly, a gray coat. Wild members of the species tend to be smaller than commensal house mice and may be lighter in color, or even white, on the ventral portion of their body.

Rat, any of a large group of medium-sized rodents closely related to the common, smaller, house mouse and found throughout the world. The more than 100 species of rats making up the genus Rattus are, in general, dull-colored, long-tailed animals, 1 pound (0.45 kg) or less in weight. Like other rodents, they have sharp, continually growing, chisel-shaped incisor teeth adapted for gnawing. The name rat is also applied to hundreds of other diverse kinds of medium-sized rodents, but in these cases the term is usually used with a descriptive prefix as in muskrat, packrat, and kangaroo rat. For information on such rats, see separate articles; this article discusses only the genus Rattus.

The greatest concentration of rats occurs in tropical southeastern Asia and in Africa, but some species, particularly the black rat, R. rattus; and the Norway, or brown, rat, R. norvegicus, have spread to nearly all parts of the world—even to Antarctica, with the establishment of research bases there. In many parts of the world, rats are found in enormous numbers.

The success of rats, in terms of their wide distribution and great numbers, has many causes. First of all, rats are highly adaptable—to different habitats, to varying diets, and to humankind’s activities. Some species are terrestrial, some are burrowers, and still others are climbers. Their diet may consist of seeds, grain, vegetables, fruits, invertebrates, meat, garbage, or any combination of these. Rats are also extremely prolific, some annually producing five or more litters of eight to ten young. They also frequently benefit when humans cultivate an area where rats occur and drive out not only their natural predators but also other less adaptable species that compete with them.



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