The Differences Between Norway Rats And Roof Rats

The Differences Between Norway Rats And Roof Rats

The Differences Between Norway Rats And Roof Rats

There are many species of rats across the US, but two of them are the main pests bothering homeowners – the Norway rats and the roof rats. These two species are somewhat similar, but there are ways that you can tell them apart if you know what to look for. In this article, we’re going to go over the differences between the Norway rat and the roof rat.


The easiest way to differentiate between the two rat species is through color. The roof rat has a black coat with a pale underbelly, while the Norway rat is brownish-gray in coloration. The Norway rat is also generally larger, reaching 9 inches in length, compared to the 8 inches of the roof rat. Roof rats also stand out because they have a much longer tail.


The two species also differ greatly in their behavior. Roof rats prefer to be high above ground, crossing utility lines and climbing branches in order to access the roof of a home and gain entry. They also prefer the attic for their nests, but they can also be found in wall voids and drop ceilings. In terms of diets, the roof rat prefers to eat seeds, insects and fruit.

The Norway rat on the other hand is an excellent digger, burrowing near the foundation, under trash piles and in gardens. This species will use vents and gaps that can be found around the piping of the building in order to gain entry. Both species share a talent for swimming, and they will take advantage of sewage lines and drainpipes to travel.


However, an affinity for swimming is not the only thing that these two species have in common. Both are known disease carriers with the ability to spread up to 35 pathogens to people, including salmonellosis and typhus. They gather these pathogens on their fur as they go through garbage, or they transmit them through their feces and urine.

Do you have a rat infestation?

Whether you have a Norway or a roof rat infestation, immediate treatment is essential. Both rats can reproduce very quickly, and seeing the amount of diseases they can spread, getting rid of the infestation quickly should be your first priority. If any of the signs of an infestation are in your home, you must get in contact with a professional. Contact us today for pest removal services.

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