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Norway Rats

Pest Guide > Norway Rats

norway rat on a white backgroundWhat do Norway rats look like?

The adult Norway rat’s body grows to between 7 and 9 ½ inches in length; the tail adds another 6 to 8 inches to their total body length. Norway rats have a rounded blunt nose, protruding black eyes, small ears, a bi-colored tail, and a “heavy” body. Their scruffy looking fur is brown and is sprinkled with black hairs; the fur on their underside is lighter in color-usually gray or white. Norway rat droppings are dark in color and are rod shaped with blunt ends.

What is the difference between roof rats and Norway rats?

For many people a rat is a rat but it is important to know the differences between the two most common species of rat: the roof rat and the Norway rat. 

  • Norway rats are brown in color while roof rats are generally darker brown or black in color.

  • The Norway rat’s tail is shorter than the roof rat’s tail

  • Roof rats are slightly smaller in size than Norway rats.  Roof rats are leaner in appearance while Norway rats have a more “stocky” look to them.

  • Roof rats are good climbers and swimmers; Norway rats are not.

  • Roof rats are often found occupying the attics spaces of homes and can be found in tree.  Norway rats are found the basement areas and crawl spaces of homes.

Are Norway rats dangerous?

Yes, Norway rats are dangerous to both people and property. Norway rats can carry and spread many diseases in their urine, feces and saliva including trichinosis and salmonellosis.  They can also introduce fleas, ticks, and mites (and the diseases that they carry).

Norway rats have very powerful jaws and sharp front incisors that they use to chew through and damage things like pipes, flooring, electrical wires, and drywall. Norway rats may build burrows under sidewalks, decks, garages, sheds, and foundations causing structural damage. They can also damage personal items like, clothing, furniture, and linens; and will quickly contaminate food and utensils in pantries and kitchens.

What are the signs of a rat infestation?

One of the main signs of a rat infestation is find rat droppings along the floors of your home or in cabinets, closets or other storage areas.  You may also notice dirt or grease marks along the walls of your home that they frequently travel along.  Rats chew a lot so you may notice chew marks on furniture, flooring and walls.  It is rare that you will actually see a rat because they are fairly shy and reclusive, so if you do spot one there is a fairly good chance that there is an active infestation within your home.

How do you get rid of Norway rats?

The most effective and safe way to get rid of rats is to seek help from a professional that has the proper training, experience and equipment needed.  Spencer Pest Services can eliminate rats from your through our customized residential pest control program.  Contact us today to get rid of these dangerous and damaging pests from your home as quickly as possible.


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