The two most common rat species in the Northern US, but especially New York City, are the Norway and Roof rats. Both can gain entry to your home easily, cause damage greatly, and carry a large host of diseases. Knowing what kind of rat infestation you have can help identify how they got into your home, or where they may be nesting within it. The two most common rat species in the Northern US, but especially New York City, are the Norway and Roof rats. Both can gain entry to your home easily, cause damage greatly, and carry a large host of diseases. Knowing what kind of rat infestation you have can help identify how they got into your home, or where they may be nesting within it.
Norway rats are large rats that can weigh over 8 ounces. Roof rats weigh about 10 ounces when fully grown. Norway rats can grow to be 40 cm in length. Roof rats are smaller and sleeker than Norway but can reach a length of about the same size. The tail of a Roof rat makes up most of it’s length, while a Norway rat’s tail is shorter than its body. Norway rats have very shaggy fur that can be either brown or gray. Roof rats have smooth hair that is generally brown or black. Both rats are omnivorous but have a liking for fruits, nuts, and grains. Rats tend to hide and sleep during the day, and are very active at night. Seeing an active rat during the day usually means that there is a very large amount of them in that particular colony. Norwegian rats have scales on their ears and tails, while the Roof rats have scales on only their tails.
Norway rats have anywhere from 4-22 litters a year, each consisting of 3-12 offspring. Roof rats have about 4-6 litters per year, with about 6-8 offspring each time.
Rat droppings found in your home can help determine the type of rat you are infested with. Roof rat droppings are about 12-13 mm long, while Norway rat droppings are about 18-20 mm.
Roof rats get their name from their excellent climbing ability and usually tend to live higher up in structures. They are also commonly referred to as black rats, ship rats, or house rats. Norway rats are much better at digging and can burrow into buildings. Their alternate names include the common rat, brown rat, or sewer rat.
While both use the walls of a building for colony uses, Norway rats have less of a tendency to live in the attic. Both rats live for about a year but can produce litter year-round. Holes in the eaves, roof, foundation, and walls of your home can allow these rats to gain entry. Non-screened windows and open doors can also be entry points for either variety.
Both rats carry a large assortment of diseases, but roof rats have been known to carry the Bubonic Plague. While this disease is no longer a huge threat to the public, it can make you very sick, and spread. There are very few cases of this disease in America yearly. If you see rats or evidence of them in your homes, such as a nest or droppings, do not touch them, or get close to them. Call a wildlife removal specialist as soon as possible, to avoid and limit contact with harmful diseases.