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Norway - Brown Rat

Appearance
Their nose is blunt and their ears are small. The tail is scaly and shorter than the head and body combined.

Color
Brownish and scattered black in color, but have a whitish gray underbelly.

Size
13 to 18 inches in length including tail.

Habitat
They burrow to make nests under buildings, beneath concrete slabs, around ponds, in garbage dumps.

Interesting Facts
Constitutes a menace to public health.

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Pest Database : Rodents : Norway Rat

What does a Norway Rat look like?

The norway rat, also known as a sewer rat, is a large rodent that weighs about 11 ounces. The norway rat is about 13 to 18 inches long, which includes its 6 to 8 1/2 inch tail. It has a blunt snout, small eyes and ears, and it's fur is coarse and mostly brown with scattered black on the upper surfaces. The underside is typically grey to yellowish-white. The norway rat is a destructive pest found in urban and suburban areas.

With an uncanny ability to climb vines, shrubs, trees and vertical pipes, the norway rat is also capable of jumping 3 feet vertically and 4 feet horizontally. The norway rat can swim at least 1/2 mile and is able to enter a building through only a 1/2 inch opening.

How did the Norway Rat invade my home/business?

Norway rats have a very strong social hierarchy; the biggest and strongest Norway rats get the best food and living environments, which unfortunately may include your property.  The Norway rat's social hierarchy is made up of three different levels:

  • Alpha - Most dominant group.  This group gets the best food and living environment.  Burrows in soil are the nest of choice for the Norway rat (if available).
  • Beta - Weaker or subordinate group.  This group may nest in basements of buildings.
  • Omega - Lowest group. This group is usually "picked on" by the other groups.  They typically nest in whatever areas have not already been inhabited by the other levels-may be walls, in ceilings or upper portions of buildings.

How can I tell if I have Norway Rats?

Since rats are nocturnal, you many not see them moving about in the day. However, there are some telltale signs of their presence. Their evidence includes droppings, fresh gnaw marks, musky urine odor, tracks in the mud and on dusty surfaces, and dark shadowy rub marks on surfaces where they enter buildings. You can also find runways and burrows next to buildings, along fences or railroad tracks, and under low vegetation and debris. Although rare, daytime sightings may indicate a significant problem.

Can Norway Rats harm my family or employees?

The norway rat is harmful to humans because of its undesirable habits. Rats eat, damage and contaminate our food, and spread disease. Rodents consume or contaminate about 20% of the world's overall food supply. Their favorite foods are fresh meats and fish, cornmeal, rolled oats, sweet corn and vegtable fat.

Although the norway rat has not been shown to carry the deadly Hantavirus, it has been found to transmit lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM), rabies, salmonellosis, leptospirosis, and plague, as well as many other harmful ailments. They also carry fleas, ticks and other ectoparasites, which potentially can spread diseases, into buildings.

Can Norway Rats cause damage to my property?

The norway rat can cause structural damage with their constant gnawing on walls, wood, siding, plastics, and even cinderblock and aluminum. They have also caused fires in homes and commercial buildings from chewing on electrical wires.

How does Batzner get rid of Norway Rats?

The most effective method to control Norway rats is to focus on treating the burrows in the soil.  The way the social hierarchy works, when the Alphas are gone, the Betas move up the hierarchy to the Alpha level and the Omegas move up to the Beta level.  This also means that they are now able to take advantage of the benefits of better "housing".  Using our knowledge of the Norway rat social hierarchy(as mentioned above), we can treat the burrows repeatedly until the population diminishes.   This is one of the most efficient ways to control this bothersome pest.

Rats can be finicky eaters.  They actually have food preferences.  That's why when choosing bait, a rodent control expert needs to make a suitable selection.   At Batzner Pest Management, we utilize a variety of baits.   The baits we use include ingredients such as seeds, grains, sugars and flavorings.  These are elements that a rat would find in its natural environment.  This is what makes these baits have an excellent palatability.  Although these baits are highly palatable, not all rodents will consume the same bait.  That's why we are equipped to utilize a variety of attractants.  Since rats won't change their food preferences, we need to be ready to change our plan of attack.

As part of our overall control plan at Batzner Pest Management, we utilize a 5-step approach of advanced pest control techniques to help us determine the best course of action to manage the situation.  In Step 4, our Implementation step, we may determine that bait placement is the most cost-effective method to manage the rodent population.  Correct bait placement is key in an effective integrated pest management program.  Proper placement insures rapid rodent control.  Once the bait has been placed, for a moderate level of infestation, it can take approximately
2-4 weeks to achieve control of the population.  

What steps can I take to control or prevent Norway Rats myself?

The best way to control a norway rat population is to prevent them from getting in or exclude them. Simple preventative steps and minor repairs will block entry ways and prevent mice and other pests from coming inside.

  • Replace broken windows
  • Keep your building or home clean -- Wash dishes and cooking utensils, and clean spilled food from food preparation areas and floors immediately. Also, dispose of any trash and clutter.
  • Caulk around utility/service pipes
  • Weather strip around doors
  • Mend broken windows
  • Repair cracks or openings in the foundation
  • Screen all vents
  • Check (or replace) floor drains and cover with wire mesh
  • Remove items that are potential nesting sites -- Remove stacks of newspapers, storage and cardboard boxes from shelves and floors. Mice can leap 12 inches vertically.
  • Remove weeds and vegetation from exterior perimeters of buildings