Norway Rats

Rattus norvegicus (Berkenhout)

Color: Brown with scattered black hairs; gray to white underside
Shape: Long, heavily-bodied, blunt muzzle, small ears and eyes
Size 7 – 9 1/2 inches long
Region Found throughout the U.S.


Norway rats can cause damage to property and structures through their gnawing. They are also a vector of diseases and can contaminate food. Believed to be of Asian origin, Norway rats are now found throughout the world.


Norway rats are primarily nocturnal. Outdoors, they burrow in soil near stream/river banks, piles of garbage or under concrete slabs. Norway rats are social and often build burrows close to one another. Indoors, they often nest in basements, piles of debris or undisturbed materials. They are known to gnaw through almost anything – including plastic or lead pipes – to obtain food or water.


Norway rats can cause damage to structures and personal property through their gnawing and eating. They can also spread diseases including plague, jaundice, rat-bite fever, cowpox virus, trichinosis, and salmonellosis. In addition, these rats can introduce fleas and mites into a home.

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