Norway Rat Identification
Identification and Range:
The Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus) is a stocky burrowing rodent,
unintentionally introduced to North America by settlers who arrived
on ships from Europe. First introduced into the United States
around 1775, this Rat has now spread throughout the contiguous 48
states. The Norway Rat is found generally at lower elevations but
may be found wherever humans live. Also called the Brown Rat,
House Rat, Barn Rat, Sewer Rat, Gray Rat, or Wharf Rat, it is a
slightly larger animal than the Roof Rat. The nose is blunt, the ears
are small, close set and do not reach the eyes when pulled down.
The tail is scaly, semi-naked and shorter than the head and body
combined. When distinguishing the Norway Rat from the Roof Rat,
pull the tail back over the body. The tail of the Roof Rat will reach
the nose. The tail of the Norway Rat will not reach beyond the ears.
Adult Norway Rats weigh an average of about 1 pound. Their fur is
coarse and usually is brownish or reddish-gray above, and whitish-
gray on the belly. Blackish individuals occur in some locations.

Habitat:
Norway Rats live in close association with people. They burrow to
make nests under buildings and other structures, beneath concrete
slabs, along stream banks, around ponds, in garbage dumps, and at
other locations where suitable food, water, and shelter are present.
Nests may be lined with shredded paper, cloth, or other fibrous
material. On farms they may inhabit barns, granaries, livestock
buildings, silos, and kennels. In urban or suburban areas they live
in and around residences, in cellars, warehouses, stores,
slaughterhouses, docks, and in sewers. Although they can climb,
Norway Rats tend to inhabit the lower floors of multi-story buildings.
In urban areas most rats remain around the buildings and yards
which provide their necessities, and unless they are disturbed, they
do not move great distances.

Feeding Habits:
Norway Rats will eat nearly any type of food. When given a choice,
they select a nutritionally balanced diet, choosing fresh, wholesome
items over stale or contaminated foods. They prefer cereal grains,
meats and fish, nut, and some types of fruit. Rats require 1/2 to 1
ounce of water daily when feeding on dry foods but need less when
moist foods are available. Food items in household garbage offer a
fairly balanced diet and also satisfy their moisture needs.

Feeding Behavior:
Norway Rats use their keen sense of smell to locate food items and
apparently to recognize other Rats. Norway Rats rely on their sense
of smell to recognize the odors of pathways, members of the opposite
sex who are ready to mate, differentiate between members of their
own colonies and strangers, and to tell if a stranger is a strong or
weak individual. Norway Rats are primarily nocturnal. They usually
become active around dusk, when they begin to seek food and
water. Some individuals may be active during daylight hours when
the Rat population is high, when disturbed (weather change,
construction, etc.) or when their food source is threatened. The
territories of most Rats are between 50 and 150 feet radius of the
nest. In populations where there are many Rats and abundant food
and shelter, the territories will be towards the lower end of the
range. If need be, however, Rats will travel 300 feet or more daily to
obtain their food and water.

Reproduction and Development:
Litters of 6 to 12 young are born 21 to 23 days after conception.
Newborn Rats are naked and their eyes are closed, but they grow
rapidly. They can eat solid food at 2 1/2 to 3 weeks. They become
completely independent at about 3 to 4 weeks and reach
reproductive maturity at 3 months of age, sometimes as early as 8
weeks.

Female Norway Rats may come into heat every 4 or 5 days, and they
may mate within a day after a litter is born. The average female Rat
has 4 to 6 litters per year and may successfully wean 20 or more
offspring annually.

Senses:
Rats have poor eyesight beyond three or four feet, relying more on
their hearing and their excellent senses of smell, taste and touch.
Norway Rats are very sensitive to motion up to 30-50 feet away. They
are considered essentially colorblind.

Norway Rats use hearing to locate objects to within a few inches.
This highly developed sense (combined with their touch sensitivity)
can pinpoint someone rolling over in bed to a six inch area. The
frequency range of their hearing (50 kilohertz or more) is much
higher than that of humans (about 20 kilohertz.)

Norway Rats have a highly developed sense of touch due to very
sensitive body hairs and whiskers which they use to explore their
environment. Much of a rodent’s movement in a familiar area relies
heavily on the senses of touch and smell to direct it through time-
tested movements learned by exploration and knowledge of its home
range. Rodents prefer a stationary object on at least one side of them
as they travel and thus commonly move along walls, a fact which is
very useful when designing a Rodent Elimination Program.

Their sense of taste is excellent, and they can detect some
contaminants in their food at levels as low as 0.5 parts per million.
This highly developed taste sensitivity may lead to bait rejection if
the rodent baits are contaminated with insecticide odors or other
chemicals.

Contact Assassin Exterminating today for all your rat
and mouse removal needs.
Norway Rat in Natural Habitat
Adult Norway Rat
Norway Rat by water
Trapped Norway Rat
Norway Rat
Norway Rat in Commercial Drop Ceiling
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