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Norway Rat Facts Identification & Control

Norway Rat Facts, Identification, & Control

Latin Name

Rattus norvegicus


Norway rats are large specie of rodents which weigh up 500 grams. They measure about 40 cm with their tail taking almost 21 cm of the entire length. Their fur is brown or gray in color and it covers the entire body. It has scales on the tail and ear. The head and the body are longer than the tail. Its dropping assumes the shape of a capsule.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Most Norway rats burrow into the ground and build their nest in places where they can gain easy access into a building to forage for food. They tend to be more active at night than in the day.

Norway rats feed on different kinds of food since they are omnivorous. They can feed on nuts, grains, meat and fruits. These rats can as well feed on dead animals, fishes or other smaller rodents. They create their colony close to a water source as they require water for survival. Norway rats are not as social as ants and they live in communities with dominant and subordinate members.


It takes two to five months for a Norway rat to become sexually mature and they can reproduce at any time. Each litter ranges from 4-22 offspring. A female can bear as much as 12 litters in a year. The adults can survive for a year in the wild.

Signs of a Norway Rat Infestation

It is quite rear to see a Norway rat unless it lost it habitation for certain reasons. They are mostly seen in the day in areas highly infested by them. Sighting burrows around a house indicates the presence of these rats. Other signs which indicate the presence of these rats are gnaw marks on hard objects or food materials. Their presence can as well be made known by the grease stain made by them on the edge of a wall. However their dropping which measures 18 to 20 cm in length could possibly be the most significant sign.

How to Prevent Norway Rats

Food, water and shelter are the three primary factors that attract Norway rats into homes. Therefore to prevent their stay in your home you need get rid of whatever encourages them to stay.

To reduce food sources,the garbage can must be emptied as regular as possible and a secure lid should be placed over it. Other sources of food must be secured also. The home should always be kept neat which means even seeds or dropping should be swept clean always as these rats might end up feeding on feces.

To reduce water sources,broken pipes should be fixed, take off out door water containers and ensure sprinklers and spigots are tightened. Rodents can dwell in bushy environment or piles of wood. Unnecessary wood piles should be discarded and the lawns well-trimmed.

Homeowners should also seal up their homes.Windows and doors should be shut at night as the rodents tend to be active at night. An opening as small as ½ inch is big enough to let rat through therefore even the smallest opening should be sealed up. Sealing up these holes and getting rid of their attractants would prevent their stay in your home.

More Information

Norway rats are more common in North America and they are sometimes referred to as Norway wood rats or Norwegian water rats. They crossed into the borders of America by sea and became prevalent in the Midwest through Great Britain circa in 1775. They traveled as far as Ontario, Canada in the 1800s.

However, in this present day they can now be found in so many places. Norway rats were believed to have dwelt in temperate forest regions but they have become adapted to living among humans. They mostly burrow into soil surround buildings or trees when living outside however whenever they gain access into a building they would be seen in sewers, attics, basements and crawlspaces.

Identifying Norway Rats

The brown fur color and large size of the Norway rat makes them easy to identify. The weight of the adults ranges between 200-500 grams. They are 40 cm long measuring from the nose to the tail. The brownish color of the fur becomes a bit lighter towards the belly. The ears and tails are scaly while eyes and ears are small in size.

Norway rats are nocturnal animals therefore sighting them in the day would be difficult. Nonetheless, their droppings can always be seen around the house. Their droppings are blunt and capsular in shape and they are as long as 18 to 20 mm.

Their nest can be as well seen in infested areas. They make use of papers, clothes or other materials to make their nest. Norway rats makes burrow with different exit hole allowing them access food such as bird feeders at any time from whatever location.

Norway rat infestation might be identified by gnaw marks on pet food containers or holes. This mark could also be seen on wooden walls, doors or on other hard objects. Their footsteps might be imprinted on greasy floors and walls.