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norway rat

Description

Flea-infected Norway rats indirectly killed millions of people during the Middle Ages in Europe. The direct result of the transmission of the Bubonic Plague. These 'carrier' fleas spread the disease to humans, in turn causing death. Norway rats were introduced into the United States in the early 1700s via trading ships and have since spread across the country, with the largest, most concentrated rat populations occurring within inner cities.

Biology and Behavior

norway rat outside grain store

  • These are large, usually grayish rodents approximately 16 inches long, including the tail, and weighing between 12 and 16 ounces.

  • The average number of offspring during a three-week 'pregnancy' period; averages eight to nine per litter.

  • They prefer grains, seeds, and insects as food sources but will consume almost any food.

  • They consume an ounce of food per day and are highly dependent on water sources.

  • Neophobic: meaning they are wary of new objects and foods in their environment.

  • Norway rats can squeeze through 1/2-inch cracks and gaps.

  • Most Norway rats live for less than one year.

Norway Rat Prevention Tips

    • Place dog food, birdseed, and human food inside rodent-proof containers.

    • Keep shrubs, vines, and tree limbs trimmed away from a structure.

    • All gaps should be less than 1/2 inch in diameter to prevent entry.

    • Fit door thresholds and frames with gaskets or brush shields.

    • Seal utility openings with sealant or pipe collars (escutcheon plates).

    • Do not use expanding foam to seal gaps. Rats can chew through this.

    • Do not stack lumber, firewood, bricks, pipes, or other debris next to a foundation.

    • Cover vents (attic, crawl space, and dryer) with mesh screens (< 1/2-inch).

    • Organize storage areas so that they are 'clutter-free with access to perimeter walls.

    • Garbage should be removed daily and stored outside in closed containers.

    • Clean food spills and soiled dishes promptly.

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