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Norway Rat

Size: 18 inches

Color: Brown

Where found: Landfills, alleys, garages, sheds

Potential treatment: Interior

The Norway rat also is referred to as the common brown rat, sewer rat or wharf rat. This rodent tends to be large, as long as 18 inches with a 6- to 9-inch hairless tail. Its body is covered with coarse fur that is brown with scattered black flecks

Rats typically nest in protected areas, such as junk yards, landfills, ravines and alley ways. Around homes and buildings, they are more commonly found in garages and sheds. They can be extremely destructive, gnawing through structures and wiring.

Food sources for rats can be just about anything, but they will seek out pet foods, meats and grains. They also need water on a daily basis, so nesting areas of choice will have an accessible water source. Keeping food sealed and stored is wise, but a rat's keen sense of smell usually allows it to locate food thought to be secure. They also are capable of squeezing through small spaces-gaps as narrow as 1/2 inch and holes the size of a quarter.

Female rats typically birth four to six litters a year, of up to 12 young. Breeding is more common in spring and fall, and an adult rat may live as long as 18 months.

Rats tend to burrow and hide. Evidence of an infestation is usually droppings or freshly gnawed objects. They commonly carry diseases that can infect people and animals, so a professional should be called at the first sign of a problem.