Rats and mice in Australia

There are a few different types of rodents that can invade Australia homes. It is important to know which variety of rodent you have before considering removing them from your home. No matter what type of rodent you are dealing with there is always something you can do to manage your situation.

Is it a mouse or a rat?

Mice are usually much smaller than a rat usually around 7.5cm to 10cm and they have a smaller tail. Their colourings and markings can include light grey, white, light brown and black. Mice can do considerable damage to grain crops as well as homes. They can contaminate any food they come into contact with including pet food.

By contrast, rats are much bigger around 16 cm to 20 cm long. They can may be a cream colour, grey, black or light brown. They have a smooth coat and big, thin ears.

If you have a rat living around your home it is most likely to be a Brown or Black Rat.

The two most common types of rats that live in suburban Australia are the Black Rat and the Brown Rat (also known as the Norway Rat). Both of these rats were introduced from Asia and are known as 'True rats'. They have a well known history of carrying pests and diseases.

Brown Rats tend to burrow and build nests around the foundations of buildings. Black Rats tend to burrow in roofs.

What about native rats?

In Australia we also have two native rats know as the Bush Rats and Water Rats. Both Bush Rats and Water Rats are protected species and it is illegal to harm them. They are nocturnal and very timid and unlikely to live in urban areas.

Bush Rats are grey in colour with rounded ears and a relatively short tail. They live in forests, woodlands and heath and not often in urban areas.

Water Rats live around permanent bodies of fresh water, such as rivers, lakes and swamps. They are large and can be up to 30cm long ! Water Rats have a long tail with a white tip. They have a flat head, small ears and lots of whiskers and their colour can vary from grey, brown and black. They live in burrows alongside river and lake banks and not often in urban areas.