Norway Rat

Actual Size: 16” long including the tail

Characteristics: Large and heavy bodies with grey to reddish-brown or black fur.

Habits: Often builds tunnels beneath the ground, but can also nest in basements and crawlspaces.

  • Commonly referred to as a brown or sewer rat.
  • Often builds 6.5-foot long burrows along property lines.
  • Tends to live in underground tunnels and burrows.


Norway Rats in your area

Norway rats are a very common pest throughout the United States. Since these rodents are commensal pests, they usually rely on human habitats and structures for survival. Norway rats are more aggressive than other types of rats, and they can be told apart by their stocky or heavy bodies. Though these pests will eat almost anything, they prefer food products like grains, meats, fish, nuts, and fruits. Norway rats are also crepuscular creatures, so they are most active right before dawn or just after sunset. These rodents aren’t just creepy, though; they can cause serious destruction by gnawing and may even spread serious diseases such as hantavirus or salmonella, which makes them a large health concern.

Norway Rat Habitat

Norway rats originated in northern China, but they were carried to Europe in Norwegian ships – hence their name. In general, these rodents build their homes by constructing tunnels and burrows in the ground. Norway rats are known for building tunnels up to 6.5 feet in length along building foundations and gardens. However, these pests also may enter homes in search of food, and they have been known to chew through plastic garbage cans while looking for nourishment. Since Norway rats can gnaw through all sorts of materials, they can cause significant damage to structures as they seek shelter or forage for food.

Norway Rat Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Though Norway rats typically hide from human activity, they have been known to become aggressive or bite humans. Because Norway rats are capable of transmitting deadly diseases, such as Lyme disease and the plague, a bite could result in serious health problems. Additionally, these pests can cause major damage to human structures by chewing – some have even been known to start fires by gnawing through electrical wires. Norway rats are a dangerous pest, so it is important to call a licensed rodent control company if you suspect there is an outbreak on or near your property.