Krittika mentioned that a rat and a mouse are different, in her mousecapade post

Growing up, I never recognized that a mouse and a rat have differences. Everyone around me used these two words interchangeably, and that was that. 

What was that Running Behind my Couch?

Animals seem to love entering my apartments. 

I use the word animals loosely. In 2009, there was a snake in my kitchen, which was pretty scary. Well, I’ve never had a “real” animal enter my apartment. One day when my friend Clyde entered his living room, he found a raccoon seated comfortably on his couch. I know what I would have done if I were him – my shriek would have pierced the windows of every home in the neighbourhood. 

Coming back to “animals” and me.

One Sunday afternoon in my apartment in Arlington, Virginia, I was planning to watch a movie. I had rented some nice movies, there was a Hollywood Video around my corner. I had popcorn and other snacks ready for my movie time. As I was getting ready to turn on the video player and comfortably ensconce myself in the couch, I noticed something running behind my couch. A cursory investigation revealed that it was a rat! 

A rat! Yikes!

“There is a Rat in My Apartment”

The movie could wait. 

I attended to the drama in my apartment. I went down to the maintenance office all flustered. “There’s a rat in my apartment”, I exclaimed indignantly. 

The front desk person took my request, and promised to send someone over to remove the mouse from my apartment. 

“By the way, it is a mouse, not a rat”, he told me.

I was visibly peeved. I told him I didn’t care what he called it – there was an animal in my apartment and I wanted it gone. Mouse, rat, hamster – did it matter?

Mouse and Rat are Different Animals

It did matter.

I learned later that a mouse and a rat are indeed different

A mouse is much smaller. Rats could be pretty big. The presence of one mouse means there is likely a mice infestation in the apartment. The presence of a rat means that there is likely a rat infestation.

The health department likely have codes that apartments must adhere to. 

A rat infestation may have meant trouble for the apartment management. A mouse infestation – eh, whatever. 

Later in the week, I indignantly told my friends how the apartment manager corrected my technicality instead of sending someone. It wasn’t a technicality, a mouse vs a rat is a pretty significant difference, they told me.  

You live and learn.

I Watch My Movie 

I don’t remember if the movie I watched had a happy ending.

My Sunday afternoon had a happy ending. An apartment staff removed the mouse. Thankfully, I didn’t see any more mice in my apartment for the rest of my stay there.

Little did I know then any such an unusual occurrence has one silver lining – it is material for a blog post 17 years later. 

Image Credit: Joshua J. Cotten from Unsplash