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Pest Profile: Norway Rat

Published In: Pest Profile

Norway rats are often referred to as the street or sewer rats. They are a large species of rat that is said to have first arrived in the Americas on ships in the 1700s. Today they can be found throughout the world. They are very agile and are capable of running, climbing, jumping, and swimming. Their gnawing is a well-known cause of damage to properties and structures. Their teeth are said to be stronger than iron, and they are able to chew through a number of different materials. In appearance, they are brown and black rats with a white underside. They are long, heavily bodied, and have a blunt muzzle. They are commonly misidentified as their relative the roof rat. One way to tell the difference between these two species of rodents is their tails: roof rats have a very long tail that when pulled over its head is longer than the length of its body, whereas the Norway rat has a shorter tail that does not extend past its body. Norway rats also have a rounder, more blunt snout, and smaller ears.

Rodents are highly adaptable and have fast reproductive rates, which makes them a very successful species. It is important to both recognize and prevent rodent infestations. How do you prevent issues with these critters? Rodents are often drawn to stored firewood, so be sure to keep it away from the side of the home. The most important factor, though, is exclusion. Rodents are able to slip in the tiniest of spaces. For rodents such as the Norway rat, they can squeeze into spaces as small as 1/2”. Sealing any points of entry into the home is vital to keep rodents out. Taking such measures can help you prevent your home from being visited by any unwanted rodent guests. Norway rats also rely on a source of water to survive. Just like any pest, they may wander inside in search of the basics of survival: food, water, and shelter. If you start seeing signs of rodents such as droppings, urine stains, rub marks, or tracks, call a pest professional as soon as possible to inspect for and address any rodent activity.

Kristen Stevens, BCE

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