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Norway Rats

Class: rodent
Other names:
brown rat, sewer rat, wharf rat, street rat, Norwegian rat
brown or gray on top with a white belly
between 12 and 18 inches long when adult, with tails between five to eight inches long
omnivorous; around Baltimore homes they’ll eat garbage, pet food, pet droppings, bird seed, etc.
Natural predators:
cats, dogs, snakes, fox, skunks, weasels, owls, hawks
may contaminate food, spread diseases
Interesting Fact:
Rats are neophobic—very cautious around unknown objects and foods. 

Norway Rats Are Dangerous, but They Fear the Our Rodent Control Team

The big brown rats that invade homes throughout the U.S. are called Norway rats, but they actually originated in central Asia. You may know them as sewer rats, street rats or wharf rats.  Whatever you call them, Norway rats are dangerous home invaders.

  • They can destroy or contaminate food supplies.
  • Their feces and urine can be a source of salmonella and E-coli infections and Hantavirus, a respiratory disease.
  • They can introduce fleas, ticks and mites into your home.
  • They can damage structures by gnawing on building materials, including wood, plastic and lead pipes.

How to Identify Norway Rats in Maryland

Norway rats are brown to reddish gray with white or grayish bellies. Adults can grow as long as 18 inches in body length with tails five to eight inches long.  These rats usually live no longer than a year, but each female can produce up to 74 offspring in that time.

In the country, Norway rats nest in burrows, in woodpiles or under piles of debris inside a home or close to its foundation. They line their nests with shredded paper and cloth.  Because these pests have a collapsible skeleton, they can sneak inside your home through a hole no larger than a quarter. They’re also good swimmers and climbers, so if you have ivy climbing up your house they may use it to get inside.

In cities, rats burrow under slabs of concrete, near trash cans and dumpsters, under sheds and near bird feeders. Sometimes, rats can enter into the home from areas in the basement, like toilets that have not been used and are dried out allowing rats in from the sewer. In fact, Baltimore has been rated #3 on the Top 10 Worst Rat Cities in the World posted by the Animal Planet.

Your first clue that you have a rat problem, besides the live sightings, is when you spot their raisin-sized droppings around the food storage or trash disposal areas.

5 Tips to Discourage Norway Rats from Entering Your Home:

  • Make sure your trash containers are in good shape and tightly sealed.
  • Eliminate standing water on your property, as rats require 1 to do 2 oz. of fresh water daily.
  • Store pantry foods and dog food in rodent-proof metal or glass containers.
  • Stop feeding the birds at outdoor feeders close to your home.
  • Pick up any pet waste right away.

Call in the Brothers to Eliminate These Rodents

Norway rats can be hard to eliminate, but Brody Brothers’ rodent control team can clear them out of your home. We will take actions both inside and outside of your home:

  • Outside, we will help identify food and water sources and work with you to eliminate them, as well as seal possible entrance holes and place rodenticide/bait in locked stations or directly inside the burrows. The key is to provide/reapply enough bait to satisfy rats’ enormous appetite.
  • Indoors, we will locate and seal entry points rats are using to get inside, as well as eliminate rats’ feeding and watering sites. We will follow this up by strategically placing traps and baits to make sure the rats die in accessible areas and not inside your walls.

If you’ve seen signs of rat infestation, don’t delay. Call us today at 410-653-2121 to protect your family’s health with top-notch rodent control in Baltimore, MD.


Not the right rodent? Check out our Rodent Control page to correctly identify the pest in your home.

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