Rats And Mice – Who Is Smarter Of The Two?

Both rats and mice are rodents that are known to be a nuisance in any home. Not only do they cause tremendous damage but are also carriers of disease. These rodents have evolved to live amongst humans and are found in both urban and rural areas. Although they are small, they are quite smart when it comes to finding their way into buildings to find food or shelter. There are obvious differences between both these rodents that most of us fail to notice as we just see them as creatures that cause great nuisance to us. Have any of us considered which of them is smarter? They are both capable of causing the same amount of damage but their intelligence is debatable.

Difference Between Mice And Rats

There are two types of common rats, the brown rat (Norway Rat) and the black rat (Roof Rat). Mice are typically found as the common house mouse but sometimes field mice can be found as well. The most common difference between the two is that the rat is much larger, weighing about 300 grams whereas a mouse would weigh about 15 grams. Rats are usually found in urban areas whereas mice can be found in both urban and rural areas. Rats can be found indoors, outdoors and in sewers whereas mice are usually restricted to staying indoors and outdoors but are never found in sewers. Rats are omnivorous, feeding on anything including meat consuming up to 30 grams of food while mice prefer to nibble on seeds and grains consuming about 3 grams of food per day. There are other differences between these rodents including physical characteristics which make them two completely distinct rodents. 

Intelligence Of Rats And Mice

Both rats and mice are intelligent rodents as they are able to enter into our homes and cause more damage than we realize. However, what many of us do not know is that rats are smarter than mice. Simply by looking at a rat, you can see they are intelligent as they solve problems and find other ways to cause more mischief. Here are a few reasons as to why the rats are smarter than mice. 

Rats Are Quick Learners

Unlike mice, rats have the ability to pick up behaviors and tricks very quickly. Like humans, rats are survivors. They learn to cope with what nature has in store for them and they quickly learn to raid human food stores without being caught. There are some people that keep rats as pets and they can be trained to press a button for food. They can also learn to turn a light on and off and they will simply learn to do this as they themselves like the change. Rats also have an amazing sense of smell and hearing and can be trained to sniff out land mines and bombs, in place of dogs.

Rats are also very good at mazes especially if there is a treat somewhere as rats have a good sense of smell unlike mice. Although at first rats might take a while to find the treat, they will get better at it each time. Rats are able to use visual markers to remember which path it had already taken in the maze and also notes what areas of the maze and have light and what areas do not to create a picture of the maze in its mind. Studies done have shown that rats are intelligent in this way and that they were able to find food in the tunnels with minimum effort.

Social Intelligence Of Rats

Rats can be very social creatures unlike mice. When trained, they can build very complex relationships with humans. It is difficult with mice as they are very scared creatures, although in saying that some people do keep mice as pets and longer periods of association with them have shown that sometimes they can respond to your actions. However, rats are able to create a stronger bond with people like they do with other rats. Relationships are very important to rats. In the wild and in labs, rats have been known to die due to social stress. There have also been reports of rats dying from a heartbreak after their partner has died. Rats also display personality unlike mice. Some are more confident and outgoing while the others are shy. It is said that with the shy ones you have to be a bit more patient and gentle and you will see them slowly learn to respond to you.

Most of us have always seen rats and mice as the same thing but these facts establish the clear differences between the two. Rats are smarter in many ways than one which explains why they sometimes can avoid traps unlike the common house mice.