What Are The Differences Between Roof Rats And Norway Rats?

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    When it comes to rats, two species are the most common in home infestations – roof and Norway rats. Let’s take a look at how these two species differ and how they are controlled when they infest a home.


    One of the easiest ways to identify whether you are dealing with roof or Norway rats is by their color. Roof rats have a black colored fur, with a lighter underbelly, while Norway rats tend to be brown-gray in coloration. The two rats also differ in size, with roof rats reaching lengths of eight inches and Norway rats reaching lengths of ten. These lengths do not include the tail – the tail will usually add another eight to ten inches.


    What really sets these two species apart is their behavior. As the name suggests, the roof rats prefer elevated areas. In nature, they will spend their time up in trees, looking for nuts, eggs and small birds to eat. The Norway rat prefers to spend its time close to the ground, where it will forage for food and build its burrows.

    These preferences are reflected in how the different rats infest the home. Roof rats will tend to occupy the top of the home (attic, upper floors), and they will usually try to gain access by traveling across electrical wires and finding cracks in the exterior part of the upper levels of the building. Norway rats on the other hand will occupy the bottom part of the house, usually in the bathroom, and lower floors. Similarly, they will try to gain access through cracks and gaps near the foundation of the home.

    Prevention and control

    When it comes to prevention, both species can be dissuaded from entering the home using similar methods. Make sure that the rats do not have access to food and water, including the food in the garbage can and pet food.

    When it comes to control however, there is one major difference. Because these two species occupy different areas of the home, the traps and poisons will have to be placed differently depending on the species. This is why a pest control pro will first identify the species of the rat in the infestation before implementing any control methods. If you have any questions about these two species, or if you have a rat infestation in your home, contact us today and we will help you

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