Difference Between Rat and Possum

Rat vs Possum

Rats and possums belong to two completely different groups of mammals, and it would never be complicated to understand who is who. Their natural distribution range, morphological features, colourations, and most of other biological aspects are different between these two, and it would be important to discuss the particulars as in this article.


Rats are rodents with medium sized bodies and they belong to Family: Muridea. True rats belong to the Genus: Rattus and they are also known as Old World rats. They are larger than mice and have long tails, which are skinny without hairs. Buck and doe are the commonly referred names for male and female rats respectively. They are serious pests of humans more often than not. Additionally, they usually carry many pathogens to human those are zoonotic, but some people keep rats as pets. However, rats have been beneficial for scientists in scientific studies for a long time, as they can tolerate a greater crowding, and can be restrained and bred easily. Rats are omnivorous animals, and they like to gnaw as much as they can, irrespective of what is it as long as it would wore off their teeth. Rats have an elongated face that ends up with a long snout. Their eyes are positioned bilaterally, enabling a long range of vision. Different breeds of true rats have different colours including black, white, grey, and ash.


Possum is a small to medium sized marsupials native to Australia and surrounding islands known as Oceania. There are more than 70 different species of possum species, and some of them are introduced to New Zealand and China as well. Possums have a long and hairy tail, which has a bushy appearance. The face is round and flattened with a tiny snout. Positioning of eyes is mostly towards front of the face, rather than towards lateral sides. They have sharp claws on toes, but except the first digit of the hind foot, which is an opposable toe. Usually, possums are nocturnal arboreal animals and herbivores; eat fruits, vegetables, flowers, and young shoots. However, sometimes they are opportunistic omnivores and their sharp teeth are adaptations for predatory behaviours. They are common in suburban areas, and Australian government still protects because of some threats against them. Possums come in many colours including black also. However, ash white top and yellow towards underneath with a bushy black tail are common colourations among them.

What is the difference between Rat and Possum?

· Rats are rodents and possums are not rodents, but marsupials.

· Rats have ever-growing upper front incisors, while possums do not.

· At parturition, rats deliver fully matured kits (aka kittens), but possums deliver immature embryos.

· Female possum has a sack to keep the babies inside and look after, but rats do not.

· Rats have long hairless tail, while possums have long hairy tail with a bushy appearance.

· Usually, possums are nocturnal, but rats are both nocturnal and diurnal.

· Rats are always omnivorous, whereas possums are usually herbivores and opportunistic omnivores.

· Possum is native to Oceania, but rats have a worldwide distribution.

· Possums have sharper claws compared to rats.

· Eyes are bilaterally positioned in rats, while they are more towards front in possums.

· Rats have a slender face compared to the round and flat face of possums.

· Possums have larger eyes compared to rat eyes.