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Structure, Appearance and Characteristics

  • Adult:Largest of the pest species
  • Weight approx 450 g
  • Body Shape: Heavy-set
  • Nose: Blunt
  • Fur: Coarse – red/brown in colour
  • Ears: small, close-set, finely haired
  • Tail: Shorter than body and head. Pale underneath
  • Droppings: Blunt, 18mm long
  • Good climbers, jumpers and swimmers
  • In areas where both Norway rats and Roof rats exist, Norway rats will become the dominant species.

Life Cycle

  • Rodents are mammals
  • Gestation Period: 22 days
  • Sexual Maturity: 3-4 months
  • Number of Litters per year: 5-6
  • Average number per litter: 8-10
  • Average Lifespan: approx 1 year.


Infests warehouses, factories, farms, garbage dumps, shops, supermarkets, homes, sewers. Indoors, nesting sites are located in wall voids, roof voids or other areas that offer secluded, undisturbed shelter. Outdoors they mostly live in burrows which tunnel into stream banks, under rubbish heaps and buildings. Although it is a reasonably good climber, the Norway rat prefers drains, sewers and ground level burrows, often entering buildings through holes and gaps in poorly constructed or maintained floors and walls of buildings.


Omnivorous. Will eat all human and animal foods / feedstocks. (approx 20-30 grams per day) Water intake (20-30 millilitres per day). Require regular access to free water. Take larger meals less frequently Foraging Range: 40-50 metres

Pest Status

Major pest. Gnawing, nibbling and contamination of food products through droppings and urine. Transmits numerous diseases. Physical gnawing of wires can cause short-circuits, breakdowns and fires.


Control for rodents comprises four main approaches:

  1. Sanitation – reducing the food and shelter available for rodent activity
  2. Rodent-proofing – alter the building structurally so that rodents cannot gain entry.
  3. Trapping – using traps to physically capture rodents
  4. Chemical Control – covers a wide variety of techniques including baiting, use of tracking powders and gels and in some cases, fumigants.