Norway Rats

Norway Rats

Rattus norvegicus

What Are Norway Rats?

The Norway rat commonly referred to as the street or sewer rat, is believed to be of Asian origin, arriving in the U.S. on ships from other countries in the 1700s. Today, Norway rats are found throughout the world. Norway rats have fairly poor vision and are colorblind. Despite this, their other senses, including hearing, smell, touch and taste are keen. Although not extremely agile, they are capable of running, climbing, jumping and swimming. Norway rats are known to cause damage to properties and structures through their gnawing. Read more to learn about Norway rats, including Norway rat control.

Norway Rat Identification

Pest Stats

Brown with scattered black hairs; gray to white underside
Long, heavily bodied; blunt muzzle

7-9 ½ inches long
Found throughout U.S.

What Do Norway Rats Look Like?

Norway rats have bristly brown fur, with black hairs dispersed throughout their coat. Their underside tends to be lighter, with gray to off-white coloring and even yellow tones. Norway rats have small eyes and ears, and their tails are shorter than the length of their head and body coupled together.

Signs of a Norway Rat Infestation

There are several telltale signs that a home has a Norway rat infestation. Gnaw marks throughout the house are one clue of the presence of Norway rats. New bite marks or holes tend to be rough, whereas older ones are smooth from wear and are also often greasy. Spotting droppings, which are capsule-shaped, is another key indicator of a Norway rat problem. Norway rats’ droppings have blunt ends, while those of roof rats have pointed ends. Other signs include footprints, greasy and dark rub marks from oily fur against pathways, burrows, runways with stacked food, and damaged or rummaged-through food products. Check out this infographic on the signs of a rodent infestation for more information.