Norway rats are some of the larger rodents weighing more than 500 grams and measuring up to 40cm with the tails taking 21 cm of the measurement. They have shaggy fur covering their bodies and it can be gray or brown in color. The tails and ears have scales covering them and they have droppings that are capsule shaped.
These rats can be damaging to structures because they east and gnaw on them and they are also dangerous to health because they cause rat bite fever, trichinosis, cowpox virus, jaundice, salmonellosis and plague. They easily contaminate food and bring fleas into your home.
Norway rats have a tendency of building underground nests in form of burrows and they are the same they use in entering buildings looking for food. They can survive in structures but also in farmlands and fields. They frequently burrow in sold near garbage, woodpiles, under concrete slabs and near riverbanks. Indoors they will make undisturbed material, basements and debris piles their nests and they can access your home though tiny holes or cracks.
These rats feed on various sources of food because they are omnivorous. They love nuts, grains, fruits and meat but they can feed on dead animals too; they can actually catch other rodents and fish for food. They depend on water which is why they love making colonies near water sources.
Identifying an infestation
Norway rats remain hidden most of the times and you rarely notice them unless you drive them out from their hiding areas. If at all you sight a rat during daytime, then it only means that you have a large infestation. Burrows are of course the most obvious sign of Norway rats outside.
Gnaw marks on objects and food indoors as well as grease stains or rub marks are signs of an infestation. The darker the stains your spot the greater the activity and larger the infestation could be. Droppings are also obvious and usually are scattered on pathways frequently used by the rats.
Preventing an infestation
Food, shelter and water are the factors that will attract Norway rats to your home or property. To prevent infestations therefore, you need to find ways of eliminating these survival factors. Make sure your garbage cans have lids and are regularly emptied and seal you food including pet food in containers to reduce food sources around your home.
When it comes to reducing water sources, have all leaking pipes fixed, get rid of containers that retain water outdoors and ensure that your sprinklers and spigots to not drip. To eliminate shelter for the rats, maintain your landscaping and lawns and remove any wood piles you might have on the property. Find a better storage for your firewood so you do not end up creating nesting grounds for the Norway rats on your property.
Sealing up your home is a very good control measure to limit access into your home. Make sure all cracks and crevices are well sealed as well as any gaps there could be on your chimneys, windows and doors.