Norway Rat


Actual Size: 16” from snout to tail.

Characteristics: Grayish-brown, reddish-brown, or black in color. Strong bodies.

Habitat: Often makes long burrows in gardens, but will also nest in crawl spaces or basements of New Jersey homes.


  • Also referred to as the “brown rat” or “sewer rat”.
  • Has a hairy tail that is shorter than their head and body combined.
  • Prefers to live in underground burrows, tunnels, or quiet basements.

Norway Rats in North Jersey

You don’t have to go to Scandinavia to find a Norway rat… in fact, these pests are actually native to Asia, but traveled to the United States on a European ship in the 18th century. Nowadays, however, Norway rats are common across the United States, including right here in New Jersey. With stocky, heavy bodies and an aggressive attitude, these rats are the last thing you want to find near your home or business. However, Norway rats are commensal, which means they often live near human habitats for easy access to food and shelter. Since they are not picky eaters, Norway rats will feed on everything from nuts and cereal to fruit and meat. They are most active in the dusk or dawn, and they are capable of causing considerable damage to our homes or health.

Norway Rat Habitat

Norway rats are known for burrowing long tunnels into the ground. Most burrows are between 2″ and 3″ in diameter, and they can stretch as far as 6.5 feet in length. They typically burrow near building foundations or gardens where they still have easy access to a home. Norway rats often enter homes at night in search of food that they can carry back to their burrow. Should their populations grow too large, the rats may start to nest in attics or other upper areas of a home.

Norway Rat Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Norway rats aren’t a pest you want to find in your home or business. In addition to damaging our homes by gnawing on wood and electrical wires, they are also capable of spreading serious diseases to humans or pets. Salmonella, leptospirosis, and rat-bite fever are just a few of the diseases that Norway rats can transmit by contaminating our food sources. Keep an eye out for burrows, gnaw marks, chewed-up food, droppings, or other telltale signs of an infestation.

If you suspect you have a Norway rat infestation in your North Jersey property, always contact a licensed rodent control company. We’ll help you get rid of them for good in no time!