Roof Rat Vs. Norway Rat Infestations

Roof Rat Vs. Norway Rat Infestations

There are two main rat species in the US when it comes to home infestations – roof rats and Norway rats. These two species are quite similar, but they do have some differences which impact the control process.

Roof rats

Roof rats are also known as black rats and ship rats, and they hail from the Indian subcontinent. They were the first rat species to be imported to the North American continent from Europe, and for a while, they enjoyed widespread success in reproducing and occupying territory, but were pushed back to a fraction of the space once Norway rats arrived on the continent.

They have dark brown or black fur with a light underbelly, and they are slightly shorter than Norway rats at 16 inches long, tail included. They prefer to live up in trees or tall vegetation, and when they enter the home, they will stick to the higher levels of the building and the attic. Roof rats are known to spread dozens of diseases and cause damage to the home.

Norway rats

Norway rats are the most common rats in the US. They have a lighter brown fur that covers their entire bodies, and they are slightly larger than roof rats at 18 inches. They tend to stick closer to the ground, and live in burrows that they build underground, especially in areas where the ground is tender (such as near a river or a junkyard). Inside the home, they will target the lower levels and the basement, and they are also known to cause damage to the home and spread diseases.

Differences in control

These two species are very similar when it comes to how they are controlled. In both situations it’s best to work with a pest control company, who will send over a team that will use either traps or poisons, based on the size of the rat population in the home. The main difference between the two is where these traps and poisons will be deployed. For roof rats, they will be deployed in the upper areas of the home, and for Norway rats, in the lower ones.  This slight difference however is still important enough to warrant an inspection and detect the species responsible for the infestation.

If you would like to know more information about these two species, or if you suspect that one of them is in your home, contact us today.

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