Not long ago a neighbor of mine called in the
It has been called the Brown rat, ship rat, wharf rat, sewer rat, gray rat, barn rat, burrowing rat, water rat, common rat, house rat, migratory rat, and the wander-rat. With so many aliases' it is not wonder homeowners and professional have such a difficult time trapping the rat.
The Norway rat originally evolved in Central Asia, but reached Europe in the 1700's, the United States later that century and now it is found throughout the world, we are all so lucky. It used to be considered is a rodent of cooler climates, but now also infests many tropical environments as well, primarily in the seaport areas.
The Norway rat is commonly sold as a pet rat, although it would not be my pet choice and has been bred for white coloration as 'lab rats' as well, leading to the occurrence of white and brown marked races. The Norway rat is primarily a ground dweller, although it can climb very well, and prefers to reside in burrows. It swims very well and often lives in sewers and other underground water systems. Rats are primarily a nocturnal animal, and will restrict its range of movement only to that which is needed to find food and water. They typically travel the same exact route out of their homes every night.
Norway Rats are omnivores and opportunistic feeders, feeding on any natural or human foods available. They are neophobic and may avoid new objects placed in their environment for some time, so it is necessary to remember that when you are placing a bait station, snap trap or glue boards in their path.
A normal life expectancy for them is one year or less, although when cared for they may live several years. The gestation period of the female is 22 days, litters average 8 to 9 pups, and she may have several litters in her one year.
They can cause large amounts of damage from gnawing as they chew on pipes of plastic or metal, wires, wood, or furnishings and walls, and commonly bite humans.
The adult Norway rats are large and robust, being up to 16 inches from nose to tip of tail. Their tail length is shorter than their body length, and it is scaly and almost without hairs, this is different than that of the roof rat which has a tail that is as long as it's entire body. Colors range from white to brown to mottled, or blackish gray, reddish brown, and other variations. In relation to its head it has a blunt nose, small eyes, and small ears.
There are some things that can help in your attempts at rat control. Modifying its habitat by eliminating harborage sites can be very effective, along with proper building maintenance to exclude their entry. You will want to elimination any available interior and exterior food and water. The use of traps and baiting are highly effective for home pest control. The shyness these rats exhibit toward new objects can affect the response to bait boxes and traps so you should expect them not to go inside the bait stations or traps for a few days. Glue trays may not be highly effective due to the strength of this species, and its ability to pull free from the glue. Like the other domestic rodents they prefer to remain against vertical surfaces, in contact with their 'guard hairs' on their body, and control measures should be placed against these pathways. So proper placement of rat bait stations or rat traps is important in you rat trapping endeavors.