Norway Rat

Norway Rats vary from brown to grey. They have large ears and small eyes and  feet. They averages 30 cm in length, weigh as much as 350 grams and their tail is usually the same length as their body.

Habits & Behaviours

Norway rats are one of the most common, extremely invasive pest species and are a major cause of economic damage around the world. They are active all year round and can be found throughout Ontario. Norway rats will live anywhere food, water, and shelter can be found and have grown accustomed to living amongst humans for many, many years within and around residential, recreational/cottage, and commercial properties.

The presence of rats can be upsetting and frightening to many. They have a tendency to become extremely annoying and troublesome, getting into stored food destroying and polluting many areas with urine and feces. Norway rats are mostly nocturnal and can be heard scurrying about in search of food, which can be disturbing to sleeping occupants.

Complaints & Destruction

A Norway rat infestation can be extremely difficult to exclude and they are capable of doing a considerable damage to a property. They prefer to live outside, at or below ground level. Norway rats will burrow and live in extensive tunnels around your property that can consist of several chambers, entrances, and exits. They will also live under piles of human debris.

Norway rats have  strong teeth, capable of gnawing through almost anything, including wood, pipes, bricks, cinder block, aluminum, and concrete in order to gain access to food, water, and shelter from the cold. If they migrate inside your property, they will nest in wall cavities, crawl spaces, basement, storage areas, and between floors. They will contaminate food with feces, urine, and fur and destroy and shred materials they find ,including walls, fabrics, furniture, wood, wiring, cables, cords, food containers, and insulation. Norway rats can destroy enough food each year to feed millions of people.

Major Risks & Dangers

Fires, electrical issues and power outages

Norway rats will gnaw electrical wiring and cables, which may result in costly repairs, power outages, and a serious risk of fire.

Structural and home efficiency damages

Norway rats will gnaw constantly in search of food, to gain access to properties, and to prevent their teeth from growing too long. This damage can destroy household appliances and cause costly structural damages and higher energy costs. In addition, these openings can make it easy for other nuisance animals to gain access to the property.

Leaking roofs, water damage and flooding

Norway rats will gnaw and claw holes and gaps in exterior roofs, walls, doors, etc. They are also known to gnaw and shred plumbing lines and pipes resulting in flooding and/or costly water damage.

Health risks

Humans bitten by Norway rats may contract rat-bite fever, a flu-like disease that can be fatal in infants and the elderly. They can also spread diseases such as the plague, murine typhus fever, salmonella, leptospirosis and trichinosis. Norway rats contaminate food and various areas/materials with feces, urine, and fur, which can cause illnesses and trigger allergies. Aditionally, they carry various parasites such as fleas, round worms, and mites that can transmit diseases to humans and domestic pets. Dead and decomposing Norway rats can infect drinking water, attract insects, and cause staining and putrid odours that can last for months.


Norway rats are capable of mating all year round if the conditions are suitable. A female is fertile every 4 to 6 days and has the ability to give birth to 10 litters per year. The average gestation period is 20 days and the litter consists of 3 to 14 young. Therefore, a single pair of rats could potentially multiply into the hundreds within a single year. The young mature very quickly and reach sexual maturity at about 6 and 8 weeks old.

Eating Habits

Norway rats are omnivores and although they prefer seed and gain, will eat just about anything available to them.


To reduce the risk of Norway rats invading and destroying your residential, recreational/cottage, or commercial properties, exclusion is the best prevention.

Greenshield Pest Control Inc. can provide you with many exclusion solutions including:

  • Exclusion proofing and blocking off potential access points.
    • Securing the perimeter of decks, sheds and crawl spaces.
    • Repairing holes and rotting or damaged materials and structures.


Rats are extraordinarily resilient and properly eliminating them requires knowledge of and experience with rats and their habits. If you suspect that Norway rats may be dwelling in  your residential, recreational/cottage, or commercial properties, it is best to let the professionals do the job of safely and humanely removing the animal(s). Please contact us today or see our Pest Control Services section for further information on the types of services and solutions we can provide.

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