The two top spots for rat pests in the US are held by the Norway rat and the roof rat. These two have been vicious rivals for the past few centuries in the US, with the Norway rat coming out on top. Nowadays, the Norway rat dominates most of the country, but the two species seem to be less competitive and they will often share territory if the food sources are plentiful. Let’s take a more in-depth look at these two rats.
Norway rats are slightly larger than roof rats and they have light gray or brown colored fur. This species is suspected to originate from East Asia, a few millennia ago. As the years went by, these rats would hop onto supply and merchant caravans, and they were transported across the Euroasian continent, eventually reaching Europe. Then, once European ships started setting sail for the North American continent, the rats hopped on board and were transported here.
In the wild, Norway rats tend to stick close to the ground, and they will build their nests in burrows that they dig into soft soil. When they enter the home, they will tend to maintain this behavioral trait, and they will stick to the lower levels of the building and the basement.
Roof rats are very similar to Norway rats. They also hail from the Asian continent, but they are believed to originate from India. The main differences between the two species are their size, with the Norway rat being slightly bigger, their coloration, with the roof rat being black and the Norway rat brown, and their behavior in the home. Roof rats will build their nests in tall vegetation or trees, and when inside the home, they will look to set up in the attic or the upper levels of the building. Also, while both species can spread mostly the same diseases, only roof rats can spread the hantavirus.
Getting an infestation under control
Because the two species prefer to infest different areas of the home, control efforts have to be implemented accordingly, which is why a pest control professional will perform an inspection before using any traps or poisons. If you would like to know more information about these two species, or if you suspect that you have an infestation, contact us today.