Norway Rats
Norway rats cause disease and widespread damage.


Finding Norway rats in and around Bensalem area homes and businesses is a common phenomenon in the winter as colder temperatures, rain and snow make survival more difficult. However, Norway rats may make themselves a dangerous nuisance in any season, necessitating the services of a professional exterminator.

Norway rats are considered hazardous for numerous reasons. They trail filth wherever they roam, and they are infamous for transmitting serious illnesses to people. Additionally, they contaminate food and cause property damage with their relentless gnawing.

Norway rats reach sexual maturity at only a few months old, and they may produce anywhere between three and 12 litters every year. Litter sizes range from four to 22, so the potential for out-of-control population numbers if very real.


Scales cover the ears and tail of the Norway rat while their bodies are covered in a coarse fur that typically is dark brown with a few black hairs. The hair on the belly of this rodent is noticeably lighter. The bulk of their bodies distinguishes them from the sleeker roof rat as does their blunt nose. Typical adults are about 40 centimeters long, inclusive of their tail.


A wide variety of foods appeal to the Norway rat's appetite. Considered an omnivore, this species seeks proteins and carbohydrates for meals. Protein often comes from fish or small rodents. Additionally, the species is known to scavenge from carcasses and sort through trash to find food. Plants, flowers, seeds, nuts, grains, fruits and vegetables also are staple foods in the Norway rat's diet.

Human pantries offer plenty of enticements to this rodent. Cereal, pasta, grains, baking ingredients, vegetables, fruit, bread and other items all may be consumed. The Norway rat uses its sharp teeth and strong jaw to gain access to food packaging that is made from paper, plastic and cardboard.


The earliest members of the species likely came from Asia, and their prolific spread across the globe is attributed to the tremendous exploration and trading practices of the early sea-faring people. Now, Norway rats can be found across the globe, frequently living in close proximity with people.

Norway rats are burrowing rodents that prefer a nest that is placed in a location with plenty of cover. When they do settle in the wild, they are likely to be found in forests or fields. Riverbanks are particularly attractive to Norway rats. When this species settles closer to people, their nests are likely to be found beneath woodpiles or yard debris piles. Garages and sheds also provide likely nesting spots, especially when they are cluttered. Norway rats also may build nests inside homes and offices. Attics, basements and crawl spaces are typical nesting locations.


Widespread property damage may be the result with a Norway rat infestation. The species can squeeze through an opening the size of a quarter, and they are determined chewers that will exacerbate holes and cracks in building exteriors if they want to gain access. Common construction materials like siding, shingles, sheetrock, studs and more all may sustain damage. Similarly, Norway rats are known to chew on plastic plumbing pipes, causing serious leaks, and on electrical wires, which frequently leads to accidental fires.

Norway rats are filthy, yet they have no compunction about wandering through people's kitchens and pantries. They leave an invisible trail of germs and bacteria wherever they go, exposing unwitting people to serious illnesses. Contamination of food, which can lead to food poisoning, is a common problem as well.


Norway rats tend to spend the majority of the daylight hours in their nest, which is lined with materials like hair, fur, insulation, shredded cloth or paper and other soft items. During these hours, they may sleep and care for their young. When the sun sets, they become more active, venturing forth to search for food and water.

Strong senses of hearing and smell make up for weak eyesight as the Norway rat roams at night. Their teeth are another helpful tool that helps them to navigate the world and defend themselves when necessary. Their natural tendency is to avoid a confrontation with a human, but when they feel threatened, they may lash out with teeth and claws. Any such injuries that people suffer must be examined by a doctor.


Norway rats are associated with an extensive list of diseases that they may transmit to people. Among these are leptospirosis, murine typhus, ratbite fever and trichinosis. By far the most common ailment that is attributed to a rodent infestation is salmonellosis, which is commonly called food poisoning. Symptoms of salmonellosis may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps in the abdomen, chills, headache and fever. Medical attention is recommended when these symptoms appear and a Norway rat infestation is suspected.


Typical signs of a Norway rat issue include:

• Sounds of rustling or squeaking behind walls or in cluttered areas
• Tiny footprints or markings from tails on surfaces that are dirty, muddy or dusty
• Yellow urine stains on various surfaces
• Rat droppings
• Grease marks on walls in places where Norway rats frequently walk
• Signs of burrowing in the yard or close to the foundation


To help protect against Norway rats the following precautions should be taken:

• Cover up or seal all cracks and holes in building exteriors
• Keep woodpiles and yard debris piles far from buildings
• Store pet food between meal times
• Seal away food in metal or glass containers with lids
• Use only garbage cans with lids
• Routinely clean garbage cans
• Promptly repair leaks in plumbing and irrigation systems
• Immediately clean up spills and crumbs in the kitchen


Determining the difference between a mouse and a rat is a homeowner’s main dilemma where extermination is concerned.  That is because species identification can play a crucial role in successfully eliminating a rodent problem.

Additionally, the impulse to simply set a couple of mouse traps is common when mice are seen by property owners. Unfortunately, this course of action is not effective in the event of an infestation. Traps alone may be able to eliminate a few individuals, but large numbers of mice typically require the services of a rodent control professional.

A licensed rodent exterminator has a variety of techniques to end the infestation. This will include methods of excluding rodents from re-entering the building as well as traps and chemical control. With all of these precautions, it is possible to return a home or office to a safe and hygienic state.

If you suspect a rodent control issue, call the professional team of licensed exterminators at SafeGuard Pest Control, LLC today. We can determine if you have a mouse or rat problem in your Bensalem home or office, and then proceed to implementing the best, most effective treatments.



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