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Norway Rats

Active Seasons

Appearance and Size Facts

  • Norway rats are brownish and scattered black in color, but have a whitish gray underbelly
  • Their nose is blunt and their ears are small
  • The Norway rat's tail is scaly, semi-naked, and shorter than the head and body combined
  • Fur is shaggy
  • Size: Ranging from 13 to 18 inches in length (including tail), and weighing up to 16 ounces
  • Lives in close association with people

Behavior and Habitat

Norway rats will eat nearly any type of food, but they prefer high-quality foods such as meat and fresh grains. Contrary to mice, rats need a free-standing water source in order to survive, as they do not get the moisture needed from their food source alone. Norway rats have a keen sense of taste, hearing, and smell, but have bad eyesight. Norway rats live in close association with people. They burrow to make nests under buildings and other structures, beneath concrete slabs, around ponds, in garbage dumps, and at other locations where suitable food, water, and shelter are present. Although they can climb, Norway rats tend to inhabit the lower floors of multi-story buildings, as well as sewers.

Signs of Infestation

Outdoor burrows surrounding the building may be an indication of Norway rat nesting. Look for gnaw marks on food and objects, rub marks or grease stains, and droppings.

Tips for Prevention

Seal any holes on the outside of the home that are larger than 1/2" with silicone caulk, cement, wire mesh, steel wool, or foam, and eliminate sources of moisture, especially in crawl spaces.

Norway Rat Gallery

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