The Norway Rat - Common Rats Found In Melbourne


The Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus), also known as the brown rat, common rat, street rat, sewer rat, wharf rat, Hanover rat, Norwegian rat, and Parisian rat, is a widespread species of rat that can be found globally.

The Norway Rat, scientifically known as Rattus norvegicus, is a species of rodent commonly found in urban areas. This highly adaptable creature has been able to successfully colonize many regions worldwide due to its ability to thrive indoors and outdoors. The presence of this prolific rat has caused concern among environmental health officials, given their potential for spreading disease and damaging property. It is important to be aware of the habits and behaviours of this animal if they are present in one’s environment in order to take precautionary measures against them.

This article will provide an overview of the characteristics, habitats, diet, reproduction, and control methods associated with the Norway Rat. Additionally, it will address some issues related to human interaction with these rodents that should be taken into consideration when living or working where they may exist. By understanding more about this particular species, individuals can make informed decisions on how best to protect themselves and their surroundings from any possible harm posed by these animals.

Ultimately, this article seeks to promote greater awareness regarding the Norway Rat, providing readers with knowledge that could help prevent damage while respecting these creatures’ natural habitat. By taking steps towards coexistence between humans and wildlife, we can create healthier environments for everyone involved.


  • Scientific Species Name: Rattus norvegicus
  • Genus: Rattus
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Family: Muridae
  • Order: Rodentia
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Kingdom: Animalia

10 Norway Rat Facts

  1. Scientific name: Rattus norvegicus
  2. Also known as the brown rat or sewer rat
  3. Originated from Asia and is now found worldwide
  4. Large, burrowing species of rat
  5. Can grow up to 40 cm in length and weigh over half a kilogram
  6. Typically lives in close proximity to humans
  7. Active year-round, both day and night
  8. Omnivorous, feeding on a variety of foods, including grains, fruits, and meats
  9. Good swimmers and climbers
  10. It can carry a variety of diseases harmful to humans, including salmonellosis and bubonic plague.

What Is A Norway Rat?

The Norway rat, also known as the brown rat or Rattus norvegicus, is a rodent species that originated in northern China. It has since spread around the world and is now found near human dwellings almost everywhere except Antarctica. The Norway rat is considered to be one of the most troublesome pests due to its ability to reproduce quickly and cause damage to property.

This rodent can grow up to 10 inches long and weigh up to 11 ounces when fully grown. Its fur ranges from light greyish-brown on top to white underneath, and it has small ears with little hair. Furthermore, it possesses a thick tail which makes up for about half of its body length. This species prefers to live in burrows underground close to riverbanks, sewers, garbage dumps or other places where food is available.

Due to their reproduction rate, Norway rats can quickly take over an area if left unchecked. They have been observed raiding gardens for bulbs, fruits and vegetables; gnawing through electrical wires; polluting stored foods with feces and urine; carrying diseases such as salmonellosis and plague; damaging building foundations by digging tunnels; and even attacking humans when threatened or cornered. To prevent infestations, homeowners should take measures such as sealing cracks in walls or using traps baited with peanut butter or other attractive items.

History Of Norway Rats

The Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) is a rodent species that has had an extended presence in human history. They are also referred to as the brown rat, sewer rat or wharf rat and have been used for laboratory research since the late 19th century. The rats were first observed in Europe during the 1800s and derived their name from Norway due to many of them being found there.

Believed to originate in northern China, they spread through Europe alongside trade routes resulting in their colonization of much of the world by 1750. By 1850, these rodents became highly invasive across North America, where they displaced native black rats and replaced them as one of the most common types of vermin living near humans.

Norway rats played an integral role in spreading bubonic plague throughout Europe during medieval times but have become less threatening today with improved sanitation measures taken against them. Despite this, they remain persistent pests that can cause damage to infrastructure when their population numbers increase too drastically. Their ability to adapt quickly to different environments makes it difficult to completely eradicate them from any given area, either naturally or artificially.

Appearance Of Norway Rats

Norway rats, also known as the brown roof rat and Hanover rat, are rodents that have been around for centuries. They originate from Northern China but have since spread across Europe and beyond. The Norway rat has a stocky body with small ears and eyes covered in coarse fur ranging from dark grey to black. Its tail is shorter than its head-body length and noticeably scaly.

On average, these animals generally grow between 16 – 28 cm long and weigh 200g or more when fully grown. Moreover, they usually live for about one year in the wild due to their vulnerability to predators, thus having short life spans compared to other species of rats.

The Norway rat prefers wetter climates with access to food sources like garbage cans and sewers; this means they often live near human habitation, where they can find shelter as well as easy access to food scraps. This type of rodent typically builds nests out of shredded paper or fabric materials, making them difficult yet important pests to control, given their ability to reproduce rapidly.

Due to their adaptability and opportunistic nature, Norway rats continue to be one of the most common types of rodents found throughout the world today.

Habitat And Distribution

The Norway rat, also known as the wharf rat or brown rat, is a common rodent species inhabiting urban areas in North America. Its habitat typically consists of sewers and other areas where there are plenty of food sources available. The Norway rat has been found to exist in most temperate regions across the world and can be identified by its stocky body shape with small ears, short fur and long tail.

As for their distribution, the Norway rat tends to prefer more urban environments like cities and towns due to the availability of resources such as shelter and food waste from humans. Additionally, they have managed to colonize ships, allowing them to travel beyond coastal waters into foreign ports easily. They are also commonly found near human dwellings such as farms and barns but tend not to venture too far away from civilization on account of their dependence upon it for sustenance.

It is no surprise, then, why this species was able to spread so quickly throughout North America; its ability to adapt makes it an ideal candidate for survival in any environment, provided there is enough food available. As we continue our efforts towards understanding this species further, we will gain invaluable insight into how organisms adjust when faced with changing conditions in order to survive.

Behavior And Social Habits

Norway rats are rodents that belong to the family Muridae and have a global distribution. They display specific behaviours that are appropriate for their social environment, particularly when it comes to juveniles. The sense of smell is important in understanding these behaviour patterns as sexual maturity approaches.

Juvenile Norway rats rely heavily on their sense of smell to assess potential danger or threats within their surroundings. This helps them recognize other individuals through scent marking, which can be used to determine if they are of the same species, sex and age group. In addition, it also impacts how they interact with one another: whether they form alliances or remain isolated from others.

Moreover, Norway rats use this sense of smell during mating season when males search for receptive females; while female adults prefer to select mates based on size, juvenile females often choose a mate by scent alone. These findings suggest that olfactory cues play a key role in determining social hierarchy among juvenile Norway rats as well as potentially aiding in the selection process for finding suitable partners for reproduction purposes.

This type of behaviour indicates that Norway rats possess an innate capacity for recognizing potential mates and forming social relationships even at early stages of development. Thus, it is clear that odour plays a crucial part in guiding their behavioural responses throughout different developmental periods before reaching full adulthood.

Diet And Nutrition

The Norway rat is an omnivorous mammal that has a diet and nutrition largely composed of human food sources. This species eats foods from both animal and plant origins, including meat, fish, grains, fruits, nuts and vegetables. They are even known to eat small insects as well! The Norway rat uses its powerful sense of smell to help it find food items in the environment around them. Additionally, this species has been observed storing extra food for future consumption; they have large cheek pouches which allow them to transport food back to their nests or burrows for storage.

This type of rodent also consumes other non-food items such as paper or cloth if there is not enough available edible material in the area. Eating these materials can cause health issues over time due to blockages within the digestive system. To prevent this problem, people should keep all stored goods sealed tightly so that rats cannot access them easily. Additionally, residents living near areas with heavy Norway rat populations should take efforts to reduce any potential sources of food nearby, like garbage cans containing organic waste or pet food left outdoors overnight.

By understanding what type of diet and nutrition a Norway rat requires and how they may source those needs from our environment, we can better understand how best to protect ourselves against any negative impacts these creatures might bring into our daily lives. Taking steps like sealing off entryways into buildings and keeping food sources hidden away are effective measures that will deter any unwanted visitors from entering our homes seeking sustenance.

Reproduction And Lifespan

Reproduction and Lifespan of Norway Rats are a topic that has been studied extensively by researchers. A typical Norway Rat reaches sexual maturity at approximately 3-4 months old, and a female can produce two to three litters per year, with each litter producing up to 14 young rats. The gestation period for the species is typically 21 days.

Norway Rats reproduce quickly and often, making them a common pest in many cities and towns across the world. Here are some interesting facts about their reproduction:

  1. Young Norway Rats will stay with their mother until they reach sexual maturity around four weeks after birth,
    Females may give birth up to 5 times a year if conditions are favourable, and
    Commonly referred to as ‘rattys’, baby Norway Rats rely on their mothers for protection from predators during this vulnerable time in their life cycle.

The lifespan of a wild Norway Rat is usually only 1-2 years, though domesticated rats have been known to live much longer depending on diet, environment and genetics. Outdoors or in an urban setting, disease, parasites and predation all contribute to the decreased lifespan of these animals when compared to laboratory-bred specimens. Despite being considered pests due to their ability to spread diseases through contact with humans, it’s important that people try not to harm Norway rats who find themselves in populated areas – as they play an important role in our natural ecosystems.

Predators And Threats

The Norway Rat is a species of rodent in the Muridae family that has spread around the globe. Predators and threats to this species include cats, foxes, owls, some snakes and weasels. In addition to these natural predators, humans also threaten them through trapping and removal efforts due to their potential as pests. Trapping Norway rats involves using bait traps which can be placed inside or outside buildings where the rat may seek shelter. Norway rat removal includes sealing openings into structures like walls or foundations with metal mesh or cement mortar so that rodents cannot enter them for nesting purposes. Controlling roof rats generally consists of removing sources of water, food and harborage from the environment.

Further methods of pest management involve exclusion techniques such as blocking access points with wire cloth hardware cloth; sanitation practices including keeping areas clean and free of debris; habitat modification such as modifying landscaping features; mechanical control measures like trapping devices; baiting utilizing poisons and/or tracking powders; and finally fumigation when dealing with large infestations. While there are numerous ways of controlling or eliminating Norway Rats, effective solutions must take into account both human health concerns and environmental factors.

Ultimately, managing populations requires an integrated approach involving multiple strategies tailored according to site-specific conditions in order to effectively reduce Norway Rat numbers while minimizing harm to people and other animals.

The Norway Rat - Common Rats Found In Melbourne

Control And Management

Control and management of Norway rats is an important part of protecting human health, property, and the environment. The most effective method for controlling rat infestations involves killing them with traps or poisonous baits. If these methods are not practical or effective, other measures, such as exclusion, can be used to prevent Norway rats from entering a particular area.

Various strategies for controlling and managing Norway rat populations have been developed over time. These include habitat modification, population control through trapping or poisoning, sanitation efforts to reduce food sources, repellents to discourage their presence in certain areas, biological controls such as natural predators or pathogens targeting specific species, and physical barriers like fences that limit access to living spaces.

Norway rat control should also involve public education on proper sanitation practices, rodent identification techniques, recognition of signs of an infestation (such as droppings), and appropriate response when they encounter one. By understanding how best to identify and manage this species effectively, individuals can help protect themselves and their surroundings against potential damage caused by these pests.

Interactions With Humans

The Norway Rat, also known as the sewer rat, is an invasive species with a history of interactions with humans. It has caused numerous issues and complications throughout its range due to its ability to survive in urban environments. This significant presence of rats has resulted in pest infestations that can cause property damage and health concerns for residents.

These problems are often exacerbated by inadequate sanitation systems providing Norwegian Rats with food sources. In addition, they have been observed entering buildings through cracks or openings, taking advantage of man-made structures for shelter from cold temperatures or predators. As such, these rodents become more visible and active around human dwellings during colder months when resources are scarce outside.

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In response to this interaction between the Norway Rat and humans, control measures have been developed and implemented at both the residential and municipal levels. These include removing potential densities near houses, eliminating access points into homes, and trapping or baiting areas where there is evidence of rodent activity, all of which help reduce populations to manageable levels. Additionally, public education campaigns on proper garbage disposal methods may be necessary to decrease food availability in order to limit their presence further.

Diseases And Health Risks

The Norwegian rat, also known as the brown or sewer rat, is a species of rodent that has been living among humans for centuries. It has adapted to human environments and become one of the most successful urban species on earth. While it can be beneficial in agricultural settings by controlling pests, its interactions with humans have negative consequences: it carries several serious diseases which may lead to health risks if not addressed properly.

Norwegian rats are considered reservoirs of numerous zoonotic pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. These microorganisms can survive inside their bodies without causing any harm until they come into contact with people or other animals. The prevalence of these organisms varies from region to region but some of the more common ones include Leptospira interrogans (causing leptospirosis), Streptobacillus moniliformis (Rat-bite fever) and Salmonella spp., all of which can cause severe illness when transmitted to humans.

Due to their close proximity to humans, Norwegian rats can spread disease through direct contact and indirect transmissions such as food contamination or waterborne organisms. Proper precautions need to be taken to prevent this from happening, such as adequate sanitation and hygiene practices like handwashing after handling them or coming into contact with their droppings and nesting materials. Additionally, regular pest control measures should be implemented in order to reduce the risk posed by these Norway water rats.

Cultural Significance

The Norway rat, also known as the brown rat or Rattus norvegicus, is a species of a rodent with deep cultural significance. It has been an inhabitant on every continent except Antarctica and is thought to have originated in the steppes of Central Asia before spreading to Europe some 250 years ago. The Norwegian brown rat soon became established in Norwegian ports due to its association with trade ships from around the world, giving it its current scientific name.

In terms of cultural significance, this species has profoundly impacted human society throughout history. Not only are they well-known pests that often seek out food sources near human dwellings but they have also become symbols of intelligence and cunning in various cultures. In medieval England, rats were seen as wise animals who could decide when to flee danger or where to find food, thus becoming associated with wisdom and foresight. Similarly, Chinese folklore tells stories of how rats can use their cleverness and agility to overcome obstacles such as floods by riding floating debris – symbolizing resilience and strength during tough times.

Despite numerous attempts at eradication through chemical control methods and trapping programs, Norway rat infestations are still common today. While most people may view them as nuisances at best, these animals continue to live among us – proving resilient against our efforts while simultaneously inspiring admiration for their abilities amongst those willing to look past popular opinion regarding them.

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Norway rat is significant, as it has an impact on a variety of ecosystems. This commensal species can have negative effects when its population becomes too large, and they become overabundant in certain areas. For instance, a Norway Rat infestation can cause damage to buildings, crops, gardens, or stored goods due to their habit of burrowing and gnawing. In addition, these rodents are capable of spreading disease through their droppings and urine.

Therefore, there are numerous methods for controlling this species’ population. Trapping remains one of the most used techniques for removing roof rats from properties. Poisons are also effective but must be applied carefully so that non-target animals do not come into contact with them. Additionally, exclusionary measures such as sealing gaps around foundations can keep new individuals from entering enclosed spaces like attics or crawlspaces where Norway rats may seek shelter.

In order to successfully manage the Norway Rat population in an area, it is important to understand how they interact with their environment and any potential risk factors associated with them. By understanding their behaviours and habits, appropriate control strategies can be developed that will effectively reduce their numbers while minimizing impacts on other wildlife species in the same ecosystem.

Interesting Facts

The Norway Rat is an interesting rodent; learning more about its behaviour can be fascinating. It is also known as the Giant Norway Rat or Brown Rat and has been observed in houses throughout Europe and North America. The Norway Rat’s presence can create issues for homeowners, who may need to take steps to control their populations.

This rat species often lives in burrows near water and food sources, such as human dwellings. They are active at night, with peak activity occurring between midnight and 4 am. Being good swimmers, they have a preference for wetter environments that provide protection from predators. Moreover, these rodents are proficient diggers capable of creating tunnels up to three feet deep into the stony ground.

It should come as no surprise that identifying a Norway Rat infestation requires careful observation due to the animal’s secretive nature. Signs include dropping pellets, gnawing on wires or other materials around homes, rummaging through garbage cans, leaving tracks along baseboards or walls, and hearing squeaking noises at night, among many others. This information is important when considering measures for controlling a potential infestation by employing methods such as blocking entries into buildings or using baiting systems with rodenticides.


The Norway rat, also known as the Brown Rat or Roof Rat, is a species of rodent that has been present around the world for centuries. It was originally found in China but has now spread to various parts of Europe and North America. The Norway rat can be identified by its long tail, small ears and round body shape. They are excellent climbers and often inhabit attics, roofs and other high places.

Norway rats have an impressive lifespan of up to three years in captivity, though they typically live much shorter lives in the wild due to predation and disease. They are omnivorous animals with a varied diet, including fruits, seeds, insects and even carrion if available. They breed year-round, with litters of 8-12 young produced every few months.

Though their presence near populated areas can lead to problems such as food contamination or damage to buildings, research into their biology reveals interesting aspects of how these rodents adapt to different environments. For example, some studies have shown that certain strains of Norway rats may be resistant to poisons like arsenic trioxide, which could aid in population control efforts.

TIP: To keep your home free from Norway rats, always clean up any food crumbs or debris which might attract them, seal off potential entry points along walls or roofing materials, and consider using traps or poison baits inside attic spaces where they tend to nest.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Norway Rats Reproduce?

The Norway rat is a common species of rodent that has been found all over the world. In many areas, they are considered to be pests due to their destructive behaviour and habits of burrowing and scavenging for food in urban environments. One question often asked about these rodents is how Norway rats reproduce.

Norway rats reach sexual maturity at only 3-4 months old, after which they begin reproducing quickly. Female Norway rats can mate up to 5 times per year with different partners and give birth to litters of 6-12 young each time. The gestation period for this species is approximately 21 days on average. After being born, the young will stay with the mother until they’re between 4-5 weeks old before dispersing out into their own independent territories.

Understanding reproduction habits helps us learn more about how to control populations of these animals as well as ways we can deal with them humanely when necessary. Here are some points to remember about Norway Rat reproduction:

  • Sexual maturity occurs around 3-4 months
  • Females can have up to five litters per year
  • Each litter consists of 6 – 12 offspring
  • Gestation lasts approximately 21 days
  • Young disperse at 4-5 weeks

This information allows us to understand the population dynamics of Norway Rats better so that we may work towards managing them more efficiently while also keeping our environment safe from any potential damage caused by these rodents.

What Types Of Diseases Can Norway Rats Transmit To Humans?

Norway rats are widely considered to be a pest species, and their presence can pose serious health risks to humans. One of the major concerns is that these rodents have the ability to transmit various diseases through their saliva, urine, or feces. This article will explore which types of diseases Norway rats can potentially pass on to humans and how best to protect oneself from potential exposure.

Norway rats, including parasites like tapeworms, fleas, lice, ticks, mites and roundworms, can spread various zoonotic pathogens. The most common disease they carry is leptospirosis – an infection caused by bacteria found in rat urine. If left untreated, it can lead to kidney damage or even death in extreme cases. Additionally, salmonella poisoning has also been linked with contact with infected Norway rats as well as hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), a severe respiratory illness that requires immediate medical attention.

These dangerous conditions should not be taken lightly; people living near populations of Norway rats need to take appropriate precautions when dealing with them. Eliminating food sources and potential nesting sites around dwellings is key to reducing infestations of these pests. Furthermore, it is recommended that individuals wear protective equipment such as gloves and face masks when disposing of any dead rodents and avoid direct contact with live ones at all costs. Taking these steps helps ensure that we reduce our chances of contracting one of the many illnesses associated with this species.

The Norway Rat - Common Rats Found In Melbourne
Two young rats (Rattus norvegicus) on the sink with dirty crockery in the kitchen.

How Can Norway Rats Be Controlled And Managed?

Norway rats are commonly found in urban areas, and they can cause a variety of problems for humans. While these rodents may be beneficial to the environment as scavengers, they can transmit diseases through direct contact or from their droppings. It is, therefore, important that measures are taken to control and manage them effectively.

Controlling Norway rat populations involves reducing food sources and shelter. This includes regularly disposing of garbage and ensuring compost bins have tight-fitting lids; removing debris piles around buildings; keeping pet food sealed tightly; maintaining rodent-proof fences around yards; and sealing cracks and cracks and crevices on building exteriors where they might enter. Traps and bait stations can also be used to reduce existing infestations if other methods fail.

Integrated pest management (IPM) strategies combine several tactics, including sanitation, habitat modification, exclusion techniques, trapping, baiting, repellents, fumigants, birth control agents, antibiotics, ultrasonic sound devices, cultural practices such as crop rotation and genetic engineering into a comprehensive plan that relies heavily upon preventive measures with minimal use of pesticides only when necessary. By implementing an IPM strategy for controlling Norway rat infestation, it is possible to save money in the long run by avoiding costly damage caused by rats while improving public health outcomes by preventing disease transmission from rats to humans.

How Long Do Norway Rats Typically Live?

Norway rats are one of the most common types of rodents, and they have a lifespan that varies depending on environmental factors. Understanding how long these pests typically live is important for effective rodent control and management.

The average life expectancy of a Norway rat in ideal conditions can be anywhere from three to twelve months; however, their lifespans may often be much shorter due to predation or other unfavourable environmental conditions. The maximum lifespan can reach two years or more in areas with adequate food sources and shelter. The age at which death occurs depends largely upon the availability of resources such as food and water, predators, disease, and human activity.

Knowing the typical longevity of Norway rats is an essential part of successful pest management strategies. It will help inform decisions about when to initiate population control measures such as trapping or baiting programs. Additionally, knowing how long these animals typically live allows people to better understand the importance of preventing infestations before they occur by eliminating potential harborage sites around homes and businesses.

What Type Of Environment Do Norway Rats Prefer To Inhabit?

Norway rats are medium-sized rodents that prefer to inhabit areas of dense vegetation and proximity to water. These animals can be found in cities, farms, forests, and wetlands all over the world. The most common type of environment for Norway rats is one with plenty of food sources and shelters, such as attics or basements.

These creatures are omnivores that feed on a variety of different foods, including grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, insects, small mammals, eggs, carrion, and even garbage. Their diet also depends on what is available in their habitat; if there are no other food sources, they will eat almost anything that comes into contact with them.

The preferred environmental conditions for Norway rats include temperatures between 50°F (10°C) and 80°F (27°C), an abundance of moisture from rain or humidity levels above 60%, and protection from predators such as cats or foxes. Additionally, these animals need adequate ventilation to prevent overheating during summer.

TIP: To help keep Norway rats out of your home or business, make sure it is well-sealed around windows and vents so they cannot get inside!


The Norway rat is a rodent that can cause significant damage and spread disease. It reproduces quickly, making it difficult to control in large numbers. Understanding the biology of these rats is important for properly managing and preventing diseases they may transmit to humans.

Norway rats are prolific breeders, with females producing up to seven litters per year, each containing around 12 pups. Their short life span of 1-3 years means populations can grow quickly if not managed properly. Preventive strategies such as sealing entry points should be implemented to reduce infestations while trapping or poisoning the existing population. These methods must also consider other non-target wildlife when used outdoors.

Once controlled, monitoring of areas where Norway rats have been found is essential to ensure re-infestation does not occur again. As well as being good climbers, Norway rats prefer dark places close to food and water sources, so careful inspection of potential breeding sites should be conducted regularly too. Understanding their behaviour and habits makes it possible to manage this species effectively without relying on harsh chemicals that could harm people or other animals in the environment.


The Natural History of Model Organisms: The Norway rat – An article from eLife Sciences, an open-access online publication for research in the life sciences. The article focuses on scientific research and findings related to various subjects within the life sciences. The article title, authors, and abstract can be viewed on the website, but access to the full text may require a subscription or payment. Overall, eLife Sciences is a reputable source for current, peer-reviewed research in the life sciences.

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