Bug Blog

Is That A Roof Rat Or A Norway Rat Infestation?

There are two main rat species in the US that are likely to invade your home – the roof rat and the Norway rat. These two species can be very similar – after all, they are both rats, but they do differ in some important ways which impact the control process.

How Norway rats and roof rats differ

Norway rats and roof rats differ the most when it comes to their behavior. However, there are also some differences in appearance, with the Norway rat having gray-brown fur, and the roof rat having black fur. Norway rats are also larger than roof rats by about 2 inches.

Behaviorally, the two rats prefer to nest in different areas. Roof rats, as the name suggests, prefer areas that are elevated above the ground, such as the top of bushes, trees, and the attic in the home, while Norway rats prefer to stay close to the ground, infesting the basement and the lower levels of the home during an infestation. Both rats however are very acrobatic, with the Norway rat being just as able to climb vertical surfaces, jump over long distances and maintain its balance as it scurries over electrical wiring.

Differences when it comes to control

When it comes to control, the behavioral differences also come into play. You will usually find roof rats building their nests upstairs, while Norway rats prefer to stay on the lower levels. A pest control pro will perform an inspection to find out where the nests are located and which areas have the highest rat activity, before going forward with a control procedure.

Once the inspection is complete and the location of the rats is determined, the control process is pretty much the same for both species – traps if the infestation is small, poisons if it is large. Both species have similar activity patterns, in that they stick to dark corners and tend to be afraid of anything new in their environments, and both species have a similar diet, so the control methods only differ in what areas of the home the traps and poisons are placed. As such, the key to removing either of these rats from the home is figuring out where their major pathways are. If you have any questions about these two rat species, or if you have an infestation in your home that has to be removed, contact us today.