Squirrel Versus Rat: Similarities and Differences

Squirrels are bulkier than rats and have bushy tails. Other distinguishing features of rats include their smaller ears and whiskers, while squirrels have more prominent ears and rounded whiskers. Rats are naturally aggressive and try to take over any space. Squirrels, on the other hand, are typically solitary creatures that don’t bother anyone else in the area.

Similarities of Squirrels and Rats

Squirrels are furry little creatures that are often seen darting around the neighborhood. They are often mistaken for rats, which is why educating yourself about these furry friends is essential. Squirrels and rats are two of the most common rodent species in the world. 

They’re both small, furry creatures that make their homes in different places, but they share several similarities which make them enjoyable to observe and study. 

For example, squirrels and rats hoard food, a behavior shaped by their natural predator instinct. They also groom each other much as humans do – except rats are more aggressive with each other than squirrels are with humans. 

Differences Between Squirrels and Rats

Squirrels and rats can be hard to tell apart at first glance, but there are a few key differences that can help you distinguish between the two. 

  • Rats eat seeds and other vegetable matter, while squirrels mainly eat nuts. 
  • Rats are better at gathering food for their families to stash more food.
  • Squirrels can carry diseases that rats cannot, such as rabies. 
  • Rats have a much higher IQ than squirrels and are thus more intelligent creatures overall! 
  • Rats are cheaper to keep and breed than squirrels.


When distinguishing between squirrels and rats, their bushy tail is the most important thing to look for. This distinctive feature is only found on members of the squirrel family and can easily be identified by its fluffy appearance. In addition, the fur on a squirrel’s body tends to be lighter in color than that of a rat’s, with darker patches near their tails due to oils secreted from their diet. 

Squirrels are gray, while rats are black or brown. While rats and squirrels are small mammals, rats have shorter tails than squirrels. They also tend to be more sluggish compared to these agile creatures, making them less adept at seeking food out actively.


Rodent behavior can be pretty unpredictable and hazardous for both people and property. Here are four examples of why you should always take care when dealing with these mammals: 

  • Rats are notorious for carrying diseases such as SARS, which can be fatal to humans. 
  • Rodents usually run away when they see people, while squirrels try to hide or get close to humans. 
  • Squirrels are the leading cause of property damage in homes and businesses- their tails are particularly long, and they have large ears, which make them easy to spot! 
  • Their bushy tail makes them very hard to control once they start running around – keep your doors closed at all times if you live in an area where squirrels inhabit!

Nesting Habits

The nesting habits of different creatures play an essential role in their overall survival. Rats are known for their denser, more complicated nests than squirrels and usually build them in round or oval shapes. 

Squirrels, on the other hand, are more active during the morning and afternoon hours, while rats are nocturnal. Squirrels tend to build their nests in trees, while rats like to live in underground dens, making them easier targets for predators such as cats! 


Squirrels and rats have some interesting differences when it comes to their diet. For squirrels, the primary food source is tree fruits and vegetables. They eat seeds, nuts, and other small animals but are primarily carnivorous. 

On the other hand, rat diets are mainly based on eating seeds, nuts, insects, etc., with a smaller percentage of meat content. A rat’s fur is usually black, while the fur of a squirrel is gray or black with some white patches – this helps them blend in better with their environment as they forage for food. 

Activity and Movement

Rats are more active than squirrels and run around more, making them easier to spot. If you see rats running around in your garden, it’s time to take action!

Tracks and Prints

Rat tracks are more comprehensive, and their prints will be more distinct. Squirrels favor tree branches for their nests, so their tracks will be more clustered around the trees. Rats leave much larger droppings than squirrels and tend to climb more than squirrels. If you see rodent tracks or prints near your property, it is best not to try and take care of them yourself – pest control professionals can help out with this task quickly and efficiently!


If you see rat poop around your home, it is time to call an exterminator! Squirrels have smaller intestines, so they don’t eat as much, and their poop is more compact. However, rat feces smell worse than squirrel feces because of the bacteria in their intestines.


Rats are rodents that feed primarily on meat or other animal-based products, which can cause a lot of damage if they get into your attic or home! Squirrels aren’t known to cause as much damage as rats, but they cause problems if they enter your home! So they gnaw through wires and cables, leaving messes behind – this type of damage is often more visible than rat damage.

Better Animal

Rats tend to be better. They can help control rat populations by caching food for later. They also disperse seeds in a way other animals cannot, improving plant diversity. On the con side, rats have been known to carry diseases such as salmonella, leading some people to prefer them over squirrels. 

Squirrels have several advantages over rats in terms of physical strength and agility. For example, its specially adapted gut flora helps digest food more effectively. So, next time you’re debating which rodent to feed your garden, spare a thought for the squirrel!

Keeping Squirrels and Rats Away

Squirrels and rats can be pesky, but there are a few easy ways to keep them at bay. One of the best ways to prevent squirrels from raiding your bird feeders is to create a barrier around your property. You can install birdfeeders, put up netting, or use repellent barriers. 

Another method is to set out poison bait in areas where squirrels are known to frequent. These options will work but may be more complicated to install or use than others. Ultimately, it comes down to trial and error regarding which one works best for your particular situation.