Keeping Mice & Rats Together (5 Things You Need To Know!)

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If you like taking care of small pets, it might be tempting to get mice and rats together. But in case you’re wondering, can mice and rats stay together?

Here’s what I found – 

Since both mice and rats are social creatures, they both prefer to live with their own species.

This means they cannot cohabitate together.  Since rats are bigger than mice, they often hunt and kill mice. This makes it impossible for them to coexist.

You are now aware that mice are kept with other mice, and rats with other rats. This raises the question of why it is impossible for mice and rats to coexist.

 In this post, we shall dig deeper into this idea.

3 Reasons Why Rats Can’t Cohabitate With Mice

Size Difference 

It is impossible for mice and rats to coexist because of their different sizes. 

A rat is almost two times bigger than a mouse. In addition, a rat tends to weigh between 350 and 650 grams, whereas a mouse typically weighs 30 to 90 grams. 

Rats can reach lengths of up to 10 inches. On the other hand,  a mouse can only grow up to 3 to 4 inches. This effectively explains why it makes sense for them to hunt the mice.

Territorial Nature 

Rats and mice are highly possessive of their territory. They consider a certain area as their own. When other animals try to enter there, they will defend themselves. 

Rats and mice are not fond of sharing their space with other animals. Therefore, it’s a bad idea for rats and mice to cohabitate.

Genetic Predisposition 

Despite being sociable and affectionate, rats can hunt and kill mice or even eat them. Rats and mice actually fight for the same food, resources, and space when kept together. 

It is instinctive for rats to kill mice and it happens spontaneously. In fact, rats are genetically programmed to display their predatory behavior when they come across mice.

Can You Put Your Mice and Rats Together in the Same Room?

Definitely not! The mice will be eaten by the rats if they are kept together.

Rats are quite territorial, as we have mentioned before, so killing mice provides them with more space and food. 

Rats are the other animal that mice fear the most, much more so than the larger predators. Since they do not get along, keeping them together may cause the mice to live in continual fear of the rats.

There is one exception, though.

Only the African Soft Fur Rat can successfully coexist with mice. African Soft Fur Rat is a multimammate mouse, in actuality. Perhaps this explains why they seem to cohabit with mice. 

However, each rodent’s specific requirements should be carefully taken into account while introducing them.

Owning Both Rats and Mice – What To Do?

What if you have already bought both rats and mice and realized later that you can’t keep both?

Well, you can have both of them. However, you should remember these four tips to ensure their safety and happier life.

#Tip 1: Put Them in Different Cages 

A picture of mouse in a cage

You can always keep them together. But, make sure they are kept in different cages and even different rooms. Considering rats’ natural desire to kill mice, their mere smell might scare off the mice. 

Because of this, the mice are under more stress. In a similar manner, a rat’s anxiety to catch a mouse might be heightened by the smell of a mouse. 

This makes the rats more stressed. Due to this, rats and mice should be kept in different cages and even in different rooms.

#Tip 2: Don’t Let Them Loose Together 

You should never mix your mice and rats because doing so will result in the mice dying. Rats and mice need to be let loose separately during free roam.

Make sure the mice are kept in a suitable cage and at a safe distance from the rats when they are allowed to roam free. 

#Tip 3: Wash Your Hands Properly 

A picture of hand washing

If you handle mice and rats one after the other, be careful to properly wash your hands. They become anxious due to each other’s odor, as we have already mentioned. 

After handling one of them, wash your hands thoroughly before handling the other to keep them calm. Washing your hands properly will reduce the smell on your hands, which will reduce their anxiety.

#Tip 4: Give Them Accessories of Their Own 

Ensure that the rats and mice have their own unique toys, cage décor, food bowls, and other accessories. The reason remains the same – to separate them from each other’s scent.

How To Tell a Mouse From a Rat?

Although they appear to be somewhat similar, mice and rats are different in a number of ways. Let’s see the ways in which rats and mice can be distinguished from one another.

  • A mouse typically weighs between 30 and 90 grams, while rats often weigh between 350 and 650 grams.
  • A mouse is much smaller than a rat, with a body length of 3-4 inches and a tail of the same length.
  • Mice, unlike rats, have tiny, triangular-shaped heads and narrow, pointed muzzles.
  • Mice have five pairs of nipples, compared to six pairs for rats.
  • Mice have thick tails and small ears, while rats have thin tails and large ears.

What Rodents Can Live Together?

We are aware that mice and rats cannot coexist. Which rodents can get along with other rodents, then?

Actually, rodents dislike having to share their habitat with other species. However, almost all rodents get along well with other members of the same species.

Squirrels, house mice, house rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, chinchillas, and gerbils are some of the animals that can be kept as pets. Others, though, would fare better in the wild.

Final Thoughts

Mice and rats cannot live together because of their size difference, territorial nature, and genetic makeup. 

In fact, there is a high possibility that different species of rodents may clash. It would be better for them to live in separate spaces.

In case you want to keep mice and rats together, make sure you put them in separate cages. Also, follow other measures like washing your hands properly as I shared in this blog. 

The next time you see a mouse or rat, you might wonder how you never knew such fascinating facts about these little creatures.

So, it’s better to keep reading about them. If you want to know if mice can live together, give this blog a read!

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