Mice and rats are tough critters for homeowners, and these rodents can be harmful to our health. Fortunately, you can control their population on your property using a humane approach like trap. However, you need to consider rat trap Vs mouse trap side by side to which is best for your rodent problem. Also, you have to determine whether you have mice or rats to deal with.

Rat traps and mouse traps are both designed to catch rodents, but they differ in size and robustness. The explanation is that rats and mice differ in size and strength.


In this post, I have made a comparison of the primary features of both traps and why you must invest in a mouse trap to catch mice or a rat trap to catch rats.

Rat Trap VS Mouse Trap

Rat Trap VS Mouse Trap


They are considerably larger, often over 6 inches in length. This is to have enough space to accommodate the size of an adult rat. According to the PBS fact sheet, rats vary in size depending on species, and their bodies are typically longer than 5 inches. They can be up to 8 to 10 inches in length when you include their tail.


On the other hand, a mouse trap is smaller, usually around 2-4 inches in length, suitable for catching mice without being overly bulky.


Rat traps are built with stronger materials and equipped with powerful springs or other mechanisms to deliver a lethal blow or secure capture.

Unlike a rat trap, a mouse trap is typically calibrated to deliver enough force to kill or contain a mouse without being excessively dangerous.


Design Variations

Available in snap traps, live traps, and electronic traps designed to deliver a high-voltage shock.

On the flip side, a mouse trap can be classic wooden snap traps, plastic snap traps, humane live-catch options, and sticky glue traps. However, you should never use glue traps to catch a mouse—it is considered inhumane.


You typically need attractive bait, such as peanut butter, meat, or strong-smelling cheese, to catch rats. Make sure to secure the bait firmly to prevent theft without triggering it.

For mouse traps, smaller portions of bait such as grains, seeds, or dabs of peanut butter are sufficient to catch mice. You should tie the bait or glue it to the trigger to prevent easy theft.

Safety Precautions

Due to the strength of a rat trap, you have to handle it carefully to avoid injury. Placement is critical to prevent accidental triggering by pets or children. Also, make sure to keep rat traps out of reach of children and pets.

On the other hand, a mouse trap is easier to set and typically less dangerous than a rat trap. Nonetheless, you have to be cautious. During placement, consider potential access to the trap by children and pets, and keep it from their curious sight.


Rat traps are made to withstand outdoor conditions and the strength of a struggling rat.

Unlike a rat trap, a mouse trap is generally designed for indoor use but some are robust enough for outdoor placement.

What is the Difference Between a Rat Trap and a Mouse Trap?

The primary difference between a rat trap and a mouse trap is the size. A rat trap is significantly larger and more powerful due to the size and behavior differences between the two rodents. Mice can grow up to about 20cm in length and weigh around 19 grams, whereas rats can grow up to 40cm and usually weigh about 230 grams. This size difference means that mouse traps are too small for rats, and mice may not trigger rat traps due to their lighter weight.

Moreover, the behavior of these rodents differs; for instance, mice prefer nesting above ground and eating plants, while rats are scavengers that burrow in the earth and eat almost anything. These distinctions necessitate different approaches to their control and removal.

Are Mouse Traps Big Enough for Rats?

While there are traps specifically designed for rats, standard mouse traps may not be suitable for capturing or killing rats due to size and strength differences between the two rodents. For rats, it is recommended to use traps that are specifically made for them.


So, that settles the rat trap Vs mouse trap comparison. Most importantly, make sure to determine whether you have a rat or mouse problem before buying a trap. I have explained, for example, that a mouse trap won’t effectively catch a rat; it might just hurt it, which is considered cruel.

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