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INTRODUCTION: The most common rodent in U.S. cities. Norway rats are also known as the house rat, brown rat, wharf rat, sewer rat, water rat, and gray rat. First introduced into the United States by European settlers and trading ships about 1775.

RECOGNITION: The Norway rat has a stocky body. Their fur is course, shaggy, brown with scattered black hairs, with underside gray to yellowish white, with scaly, semi-naked tails that are shorter than their bodies. With muzzle blunt, eyes small, ears small and densely covered with short hairs. Weighs about 7-18oz, with a combined head and body length 7-9.5”.


HABITS: Norway rats usually construct nest in below-ground burrows or at ground level. Nest may be lined with shredded paper, cloth, or other fibrous material. They have the physical capabilities that enable them to gain entry to structures by gnawing, climbing, jumping, swimming and other tactics. Norway rats will travel about 100-150 feet from their harborage for food and/or water, and seldom travel farther than 300 feet, in urban areas the average home range is about 25-100 feet.

BIOLOGY: Norway rats reach sexual maturity in 2-3 months. Their gestation period lasts an average of 23 days. Their young are weaned at about 3-4 weeks and reach sexual maturity at 8-12 weeks. The average litter size is 8-12, with about 4-7 litters per year.


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