The "brown rat" which is sometimes called the "Norway rat" is the most common rat found in the Chicagoland area. In this article, you will learn how to identify the brown rat, understand their behavior and physical capabilities.

Norway Rat (Brown Rat) Identification

  • Color: Brownish
  • Length: 13-18 inches with tail
  • Weight: 11-16 oz. (Adults)
  • Facial Features: Small ears & blunt nose
  • Tail: Long and scaly
  • Life Expectancy: 4-18 months
  • Scientific Name: Rattus norvegicus
  • Other Names: House rat, sewer rat and wharf rat

Rat Behavior & Capabilities

Rats are a well adapted animal which is capable of dealing with the harsh cold weather.  Norway rats are the most common type of rat found inside structures.  They can begin reproducing at about 12 weeks old.  Each female litter could produce 8-12 baby rats.

Where do Norway rats live & what do they eat?  It is common to find this rodent colonizing in parks, buildings, garbage dumps, zoo’s, sewers, farms, warehouses, hotels, retail areas, forest covered areas and near lakes or ponds. Rats will live any environment that has secluded shelter, food and water.  They will feed usually in the evening hours off of trash, meats, livestock, fruits & veggies, seeds, grains, and cockroaches in the sewer.

Brown Rat Senses

  • Sight-  Vision is poor beyond 4 feet
  • Hearing-  Their auditory frequency is about 50Hz… Their sense of hearing is strong and makes up for their lack of vision.
  • Touch- Rodents have a very strong sense of touch.  This sense has evolved over the years since they are amazing explorer’s.
  • Smell-  Probably the most dominant sense they posse.  Through sense of smell they are able to understand and identify risk, find a mate and a meal.
  • Taste-  Have a modernized sense of taste.  Some rats can identify poisonous bait and avoid consuming a lethal dose.

Physical Abilities of Brown Rats

  • Great climbers
  • Can swim for a 1/2 mile
  • Is capable of jumping 3 to 4 feet
  • May drop from a 50ft. building and live
  • Amazing chewers: Can bite through aluminum siding
  • Can gain entry to structures in openings of 1/2 inch

To find out more about Norway Rats please go to the Illinois Department of Public Health website . If you need assistance with rat control, fill out the contact form on our home page and we will contact you.

A.N.T. Pest Control is a licensed, certified and insured company. We serve New Lenox, Manhattan, Joliet, Frankfort, Mokena, Tinley Park, Orland Park and the surrounding suburbs.

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1200 S Cedar Rd #2D/E
New Lenox, IL 60451


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