Norway Rat


Actual Size: 16” long including the tail

Characteristics: Robust bodies. Typically grayish-brown can be reddish-brown to blackish.

Habitat: Build 6.5 foot-long burrows along property lines and gardens. Will nest in basements and crawl spaces of homes.


  • Often called the brown rat or sewer rat
  • Prefer to live in underground burrows, basements, and tunnels
  • Known to be more aggressive rats

Norway Rats in El Paso TX and Anthony NM

Norway rats are more aggressive and larger than other rats, including the roof rat. Found throughout the United States, Norway rats are commensal rodents, living near and dependent on the human habitat for survival. Norway rats will eat almost anything but prefer cereal grains, meats, fish, nuts, and some fruits. Like most rodents, Norway rats are most active an hour after sunset and just before dawn. The gnawing activity of Norway rats can cause considerable damage to homes, gardens, and structures. Norway rats are carriers of serious diseases, including jaundice, rat-bite fever, and salmonella.

Norway Rat Environment

Norway rats like to burrow in the ground. They sometimes re-use old burrows built by previous rodents or animals. Otherwise, they build burrows that are 2 to 3 inches in diameter and up to 6.5 feet in length. Burrows are constructed outdoors beside foundations and gardens. Norway rats are nocturnal and will enter homes at night in search of food, returning back to their burrow. If nests are found inside homes, they are typically in basements and crawl spaces. If a population is large, Norway rats will nest in upper areas of a home or structure.

Norway Rat Habits and Dangers

Norway rats can be very dangerous rodents to have in your property. They can and will damage foundations, slabs, garden crops, and plants as they burrow and gnaw to find food and shelter. Inside homes, Norway rats may cause extensive damage when nesting in walls and attics. Accounts of rodents starting fires through the gnawing of electrical wires have been widely reported. Chewed, exposed wires inside walls can spark, causing interior walls to catch fire. When foraging for food, these rats consume and contaminate food meant for humans, pets, and livestock. Salmonella, leptospirosis, and rat-bite fever are among the dozens of diseases spread by Norway rats.

If you notice Norway rats in or near your El Paso property, contact your rodent control experts.