Norway Rat

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Norway Rat


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The Norway rat has not been officially identified as inhabiting Arizona though some sightings have been observed. In most instances of rat sightings in Phoenix, the rats have turned out to be the Norway Rat’s cousin, the roof rat.

Common Names:
House Rat, Wharf Rat, Sewer Rat, Water Rat, Grey Rat, Brown Rat

Physical Characteristics:
• Norway rat adults weigh approximately 12-16 oz.
• Fur is heavy, thick, and course with colors ranging from reddish brown to grayish brown.
• Ears are small, nose is big and rounded, and eyes are small and dark. Tail is shorter than the head and body of the rat; it is scaly and semi-naked.
• Has poor eyesight including color-blindness; but has keen sense of smell, touch, taste, and hearing.


• Norway rats are social animals; they nest in colonies outside and in underground burrows.
• They find shelter in homes, food warehouses, stores, hotels, zoos, sewers, dumps, and farms.
• Indoors, Norway rats will nest in lower parts of a building. When there is no room or they become overpopulated; they will occupy areas such as wall voids, attics, and furniture.
• Norway rats prefer to eat foods that are high in carbohydrates and proteins. They will also feed on small animals, insects, and birds. In sewers, these rats will feed off American cockroaches.
• Nocturnal creatures- most of their activity will take place at dusk and before dawn.
• Very shy and are eerie of new surroundings and foods. (bait shy)


• Norway rats were introduced to the United States in 1775 by European settlers; Norway rats are found in every state in the U.S.
• They are larger, stronger, more aggressive, and more adaptable to cold weather than any other rat species.
• The average female Norway rat has 4-7 litters of pups per year; each litter containing 8-12 babies.
• The average wild Norway rat lives 5-12 months and captive (pet) rat lives to be 3 or more years.
• Norway rats can swim a 1/2 mile in open waters, travel in sewers, and dive through water plumbing traps.