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Miche Pest Control is a family owned and operated pest control company that provides residential and commercial pest control services that get rid of rats and other pests from inside and around homes and businesses in Washington DC, Maryland & Northern Virginia. Our expert rat exterminators get rid of rats fast, and use preventative methods to keep rats and other rodents from coming back after they've been eliminated. Miche Pest Control has a 4.9 star rating and over 1,000 reviews online - click the button below to get started, or give us a call today!

Norway Rats (Brown Rats)

Norway rats, also known as brown rats or sewer rats, are common pests that can be found in urban and suburban areas around the world. These large rodents can cause significant damage to homes, gardens, and businesses, and they can also spread diseases to humans and pets. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about Norway rats, including their appearance, habits, and the best ways to prevent and control them.

What Do Norway Rats Look Like?

Norway rats are large rodents that can grow up to 16 inches in length, including their tail, and they can weigh up to 1 pound. They are called "Norway" rats because they were originally thought to have originated from Norway, but they are actually native to Asia.

Norway rats have brown or grey fur and a stocky, muscular build. They have small, close-set ears, a blunt nose, and a long, scaly tail that is shorter than their body.

Where Do Norway Rats Live?

Norway rats are highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of environments, including forests, fields, and urban areas. They prefer to live in burrows underground, but they can also make their homes in walls, attics, and basements.

Norway rats are attracted to sources of food and shelter, so they are often found near garbage cans, compost bins, and bird feeders. They are also drawn to areas with access to water, such as near rivers, streams, and sewage systems.

How Do Norway Rats Behave?

Norway rats are active at night and are excellent climbers, swimmers, and diggers. They are known for their strong teeth, which they use to chew through wood, plastic, and other materials in search of food and shelter.

Norway rats are social animals and live in large groups called "colonies." Each colony is led by a dominant male and female, and they can have up to 10-12 offspring at a time. Norway rats reproduce quickly, so a small infestation can quickly become a larger problem if left untreated.

What Do Norway Rats Eat?

Norway rats are omnivorous and will eat almost anything, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats. They are especially attracted to foods that are high in fat and protein, such as nuts, seeds, and bacon.

Norway rats are known to raid garbage cans, compost bins, and bird feeders in search of food. They can also damage crops and gardens by feeding on plants and vegetables.

Norway Rats

The Norway Rat is the most important rat pest throughout most of the world. It is also called the brown rat, sewer rat, barn rat, wharf rat, water rat, and gray rat. A highly developed species of rat, the Norway rat is larger and more aggressive than the roof rat. Norway rats are relatively large, with dense, heavy bodies covered in unkempt brown or gray fur, which may be peppered with black hairs. An average adult Norway rat measures about 16 inches in length from its nose to the end of its tail, and will weigh about 12 ounces, though Norway rats as large as 22 ounces have been recorded in Washington DC. Their tails are shorter in length than their bodies. Generally a ground burrowing rat, Norway rats will usually enter buildings at ground level, but they are capable of climbing vines and trees as well.

How Quickly Do Norway Rats Reproduce?

In general, Norway rats will typically have litters with 6 to 12 young, but as many as 22 baby rats "pups" have been documented in one litter. Their gestation period is approximately 21 to 25 days, and if a female rat lives for a year (in the wild, most rats will live about 5 to 6 months), she will typically produce 3 to 6 litters, though up to 12 litters are possible in good conditions. 

Young rats become mature at about three months old. The number of litters per year and the number of baby rats per litter depend on the food supply, harborage, age & condition of the female, competition, temperature, climate, and more. If conditions are right, rats can breed once per month, but if rats are stressed due to poor environmental conditions, they will grow more slowly and can potentially not give birth to any pups. In general, peak reproduction for Norway rats occurs in the spring and in the fall, but in ideal conditions, breeding may occur year round.

How Long Do Norway Rats Live?

On average, rats in the wild will live for approximately 5 or 6 months. Only about 5% of rats in the wild will live to be 12 months old, though female rats do tend to live longer than male rats. When kept as pets or in laboratories, rats have been known to live as long as 3 years, but this is because they are provided with regular, nutritious meals, comfortable nests, and they have relatively low stress with no competition or predators.

Are Norway Rats Dangerous?

Norway rats can be dangerous to humans and pets for several reasons and should never be allowed to live around people. First, they can carry and transmit diseases through their urine, feces, and bites. Some of the diseases that Norway rats can carry include leptospirosis, salmonella, rate-bite fever, and the Hantavirus. Outside, rats forage for food in less than sanitary areas like garbage piles, riverbanks, sewers, dumpsters, and compost piles. On their bodies and in their excrement and saliva, they carry the many bacteria and diseases that they spread.

Like other rodents, Norway rats also have front incisors that grow throughout their life. Their front teeth are sharp and used to gather nesting materials, create entrances into buildings, and defend themselves. In addition to spreading diseases, Norway rats can also cause physical damage to homes, gardens, and businesses. Their teeth also cause a lot of damage when rats are in our homes; they can chew through electrical wires, which can cause fires, and they can also damage the structure of buildings by burrowing into walls and foundations.

Are Norway Rats Nocturnal?

Generally, rats have two peak activity periods; one within the hour following sunset, and another just before dawn. That isn't always the case, though: rats will alter or even reverse their activity periods from night to day, depending on human activity, competition, and the availability of food or water. Typically, this means that if you’ve seen a Norway rat in your home during the daytime, you have a severe infestation on your hands.

Why Do I Have A Norway Rat Problem?

Unfortunately, Norway rats can become a problem wherever we live. They are especially a problem in urban areas where endless buildings and people provide them with places to shelter and ample food, which they gather from trash cans, fruit trees, pet food, and outdoor eating areas.

Where Will I Find Norway Rats In My Home?

Norway rats mainly nest at ground level around fields, farmlands, riverbanks, gardens, and under concrete slabs and woodpiles. During the cooler months when food is less plentiful outside, Norway rats move indoors to consume our food and hide in our basements, crawl spaces, and wall voids.

How Can I Get Rid Of Norway Rats?

If you have rats living on your property, professional help is the best way to eliminate them. At Miche Pest Control, our experienced and licensed experts understand the biology and behavior of rats. Using effective products and modern pest control methods, we control rats and other common household pests. To learn more about eliminating rats from your Virginia, Maryland, or Washington D.C. property, reach out to Miche Pest Control today!

How Can I Prevent Norway Rats In The Future?

Preventing problems with rats is difficult, but we want to help you guard your property against these rodents by offering these helpful prevention tips:

  • Cut back shrubbery, tall grass, and other landscaping from near your foundation to prevent Norway rats from nesting near your home.
  • Remove things like woodpiles, brush piles, construction debris, and other yard clutter from your property.
  • Eliminate a rat's access to food on your property by regularly harvesting fruits and vegetables from gardens and trees, keeping locking lids on trash cans, and picking up your pet's uneaten food.
  • Seal any holes or openings in your home's exterior, both at ground level and roof level, using steel wool, metal flashing, or another strong material that will hold up against a rat's sharp, strong teeth.

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