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 and understand their behavior and physical capabilities.

Norway Rat (Brown Rat) IdentificationA closer look on the body structure of a brown rat

  • 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 well-adapted animal which is capable of dealing with 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? Where do rats nest? What do they eat?  It is common to find this rodent colonizing parks, buildings, garbage dumps, zoos, sewers, farms, warehouses, hotels, retail areas, forest-covered areas, and near lakes or ponds. Rats will live in 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. Thus, knowing how to get rid of Norway rats is a very essential thing. 

Rat sitting on the corns to feed

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 explorers.
  • Smell-  Probably the most dominant sense they posse.  Through their sense of smell, they are able to understand and identify risks and 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 RatsA rat climbing - as one of their ability

  • 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 regarding the fastest way to eliminate rat infestation, contact us at A.N.T. Pest Control.

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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