Norway Rats Identification & Infestation: How to Get Rid of Them?

Rodents are common animals that are abundantly occurring in all parts of the world. The list of sharp-teethed rodents is very long. They are found running on the ground, climbing on the trees, in the backyard and in the attics. The most common among these is the rats. These apparently small rodents with a long tail often turn out to be a great menace for their surroundings. The rats are of numerous sizes and fur colors. The most commonly occurring rats are of black and brown color. The fur covering the upper body is usually darker in shade as compared to the one covering the lower body that has lighter shades. Norway rats are one of the species that is commonly occurring in the United States. It is mostly brown in color. These mice are generally larger than the roof rats. They very often invade the domestic interiors and reside in the attics, storerooms etc.

Norway Rat Identification

Because rats can cause serious damage to the property and can be an equal hazard for the health, it is important to get rid of them as soon as possible. This excavation action is possible only when we know that how the Norway rats look like, what they enjoy as food, and where they want to live. Once they are identified, it becomes easy to fight against their probable threat by getting rid of them. Identification is also important because rats have different species and to control it is important to know that which species you are dealing with. If you feel that there is some Norway rats around you start looking for the standard features that make them identifiable from other forms of the rats. These distinguishing features include the following listed features.

  • AppearanceNorway rat climbing outside the farm

To identify the Norway rats, the first requirement is to have a close look at how they look like. The appearance refers to their size, color, length, and weight. The length of the tail, and the apparent features like eyes, etc. the weight of an adult Norway rat is found to be 12-16 oz. The length of the body without the tail is 6-8 inches. If measured with the tail the length can increase u to 25 cm. The nose is not very sharp like other rats around. The eyes and the ears of the rats are tiny. The rough and coarse fur covers their body that is of different colors. They are usually in the shades of brown ranging from the lighter to the darker shades. The tail is short as compared to other rat species. It has a scaly skin. There is an interesting way to identify the difference in the appearance, and that is the fact that either the tail can touch the head or not. If the answer is a yes it would be a roof rat while it would be a Norway rat if the tail does not reach the head.

  • Behavior, diet, and habit

The Norway rats prefer staying within the burrows that are dug in the ground. The size of the burrow depends on the fact that whether the population is a recent one or it is surviving for a long time. A newly settled population will have small burrows as compared to the ones who are dwelling for a long time. They are habitual fighters over their food and the territory. They mostly go out to find the food at night. They build their nests with the help of soft materials, and they are usually located close to places that can be easy access to the food like barns, granaries, silos, and livestock.

The essential food components include the proteins and the carbohydrates. They can find the food of their choice even in the domestic garbage cans. They like to feed on meat, fish, nuts; pet feed especially that of the livestock and small mammals too. They daily consume 1.5 ounces of water.

  • Reproduction

There is no particular breeding period. It can happen in any part of the year, but the peak seasons happen to be spring and autumn. After the completion of the gestation period of 22 days after the mating, a female gives birth to 4 to 7 litters in a year. Each litter consists of 8 to 12 pups. These newborn have neither fur nor eyesight. It takes a period of 9 to 14 days to open the eyes and have a look at the world around. The average life is one year. As the pup grows into an adult, he starts to live in the colonies rather than enjoying an isolated life. The breeding strength decreases in the extreme temperatures. They breed within their nests and both the parents protect their young ones until they become independent to stay on their own.

6 Signs of Norway Rat InfestationHappy rat cartoon

To check for the presence of the rats and then confirm it, it is important to look for the following signs in your vicinity. If all of these or any of these is present a rapid action against the rat to avoid severe damages and hazards. The primary signs of the rats are as follows:

  1. Rat dropping measuring ¼ or ½ inches can be seen scattered everywhere. They are glossy and black in color. The size, shape, and color also defined by the kind of food they are eating. The easy way to identify them is that they are like a capsule with blunt sides.
  2. While moving around, they leave the footprints of their hind foot. Unlike a mouse track that is 3/8 inches, it is very tiny measuring not more than 3/4-1 inch.
  3. Their tail moves between their feet and leaves its marks if you do not live in a dusty area or keep your surroundings clean, sprinkle any powdered substance on the possible pathway. As the rat will move from this region, the tail will leave the marks, and the owner will be able to find the signs related to the presence of the Norway rats.
  4. They dig gnarled holes with rough edges that have a diameter of 2 inches.
  5. Gnawing signs on the wooden structure also start appearing.
  6. Rat nesting is usually created near the water sources like fountains, food rich places like vegetations and farms, and sometimes well below the rubbish and shrubbery.

2 Steps to Eliminate Norway Rats

Once it becomes confirm that the Norway rats have invaded your place, it becomes highly important to get rid of them at once. There are some ways to control their further growth because they are equally dangerous for the human and the material things. A quick response by using effective means even when they are merely few in numbers can be a great offensive against them. It is not important to kill them every time. The humane and animal loving people would prefer capturing them and then leaving them in a place away from their usual territory. Some easy to do tasks to kill Norway rats are as follows:

1. Clean up

The easiest way to get rid of rats is reserving the cleanliness. It is the basic thing that can help in eradicating the Norway rats. Rats survive in the areas that are an ample supply of the food. To check their growth, it is essential to ensure a clean place. Keep the eatables in air tight jars or bottles where the rats cannot reach. Don’t dump any waste like papers, leaves, and cardboards that can attract them. Don’t leave the pet food open, as it attracts rats like any other rodent.

2. ExclusionRat in a cage

Rats enter through the openings like water pipes, holes, broken windows, etc. thus, to keep them away not a tiny opening must be left. Have a look all over your place and locate the possible entrances of the rats. Don’t ignore any unnecessary opening that measures more than ¼ inches. If any such opening is found, clog with any material that can stop the rats from entering into the houses. It can be wood, caulk and the mesh. Don’t use materials that the rats use as food like paper or cotton. Make sure that all the pipes and the drains are properly closed. Tight lids are easily available in the hardware stores. Get the one that fits your pipes. Repair all damaged windows and ventilators so that no rat can enter inside.

3. Baiting and Trapping

It is a method of controlling the increase in their population. Rat traps of all kinds are available in the market that can be installed near the holes or probable entry points. They will work more efficiently if baits are added to these. These baits can be the favorite foods of the Norway rats.


It is not difficult to get hold of the rats and then remove them only if proper action is taken soon after their traces are disclosed. In case the home remedies and individual efforts do not work, it is better to buy a rat killer or to get professional help.

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