Norway rats like to live in burrows, or underground tunnels, in particular. Norway rats will build their burrows near a food and water supply. In rural areas, Norway rats will burrow near barns or livestock yards. In suburban and urban areas, Norway rats will live in or around sewers, garbage piles, warehouses, stores, and residences. Their burrows typically have one central opening/exit, though they will have several “escape” holes in case they are in danger and need to get out quickly. The Norway rat’s burrow can be quite extensive, especially if they share the burrow with other rat families.
If living inside a residence or building, Norway rats are typically found in crawl spaces or basements.
Primarily active at night, the Norway rat’s diet typically consists of proteins and carbohydrates from household garbage. They will eat meat, grains, fruit and even pet food. Norway rats that live outdoors may enter a home or building to feed and then return to their burrows. These rats will also kill and eat other animals for food. It is not unusual for Norway rats to feed on small insects, mammals, reptiles, or birds.
Norway rats must have water in order to survive, and need ½ to 1 ounce of water every day. If food and water become scarce, there will be fighting between Norway rats that share the same burrow for dominance and access. The rats that win the fight to become dominant will be the first one’s to feed. Subordinate rats are forced to a section of the burrow that is the furthest away from food and water. In order for these rats to feed and drink, subordinate rats will search for food when the dominant rats aren’t active. If you see rats feeding during the day, you can assume that there is a large population of rats competing for food and water.
When the outside food supply is limited, Norway rats will start looking for ways to enter your home. This is typically most prevalent in the fall and winter when seeds and plants aren’t readily available. If they can find an opening or gap, Norway rats will enter your home this way. Many garage doors provide ample space for Norway rats to get in. Norway rats will also find small holes and gnaw at them until they are big enough to fit their bodies through. Because they are able to climb, Norway rats can also gain entrance through your roof’s gable vents and turbine boxes.
You might have a Norway rat infestation if you notice:
Foot or trail tracks.
Gnarled holes and sidings.
Burrows along your home’s foundation or beneath shrubbery.
The best way to prevent a Norway rat infestation is to make sure all cracks and openings leading into your home or any outbuildings are well sealed. Norway rats love to eat garbage. You should swap your plastic garbage can for a metal one if you believe this is attracting rats. While this won’t solve your problem completely, metal will be more difficult for a Norway rat to get in than plastic.
If you see Norway rats, or any signs of them around your home, you should call an Aptive professional to help with removal and control. The first step to getting rid of Norway rats is locating burrows as well as entry points to your home. Our professionals know where to look and can prepare an appropriate plan based on your problem.