The Adaptable Norway Rat

The Norway rat is famous around the world, and in the US, we also know it as the brown rat, common rat, sewer rat and city rat, among others. Its scientific name is Rattus norvegicus, and it is considered a pest that often lives in human settlements. Norway rats are known for invading properties, causing damage, spreading disease and attacking food supplies.

Not actually Norwegian

Despite the name, the Norway rat is not actually a species that originated in Norway. It is a species that is native to Asia, but it reached England from Norway in the 18th century, and so the English started calling it the Norway rat. The rodent actually reached Europe via Russia from Asia centuries before that, with remains being found in archeological sites that date back as far as the 14th century.

The life of the Norway rat

These rodents are extremely adaptable. They are found on nearly every land environment on the planet with the exception of the tundra, the desert, and polar ice. This adaptability comes from their physical resilience and omnivorous diet. However, one thing that you apparently do not need to be a survivor is good eyesight. The Norway rat has very poor vision and is colorblind, but it uses its other senses to compensate for this, along with an agility that allows these rats to run, climb, jump and swim very quickly.

When not in a human settlement, these rodents will live in fields and farmlands. They will also nest in the soil near riverbanks, garbage heaps and railway embankments. However, when the food supply starts to dwindle in fall, the Norway rat will start looking for human settlements that it can infest.

The Norway rat, and rodents in general, are seen as filthy animals because of their propensity to live in sewers and dig through garbage. In these environments, they pick up pathogens, which they then spread to humans either by contaminating food, or by coming into contact with everyday objects. However, these rats prioritize grooming themselves, and according to their own standards, they are very clean animals.

When an infestation does occur in the home, the owner has several options including DIY and professional help. If you are familiar with DIY projects, you can attempt to get the infestation under control using rodenticides and traps. However, if the infestation is too large or if you are not very adept at dealing with rats, it’s best to call over a specialist. Contact us today if you have rat problems in your home.

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