The most common rat in Central New York is the Norway Rat – also known as the sewer rat or the brown rat. Their heavy, thick body can grow to be 10 inches long with a tail that is a little shorter. They can weigh 1 lb, have a rounded nose and small ears. They prefer wet conditions and make their nests at ground level, in crawl spaces and burrows in the ground. The Norway rat generally prefers to live in underground tunnels and tend to live in colonies. Rats will also live in sewers and drain pipes. The Norway Rat is an excellent swimmer and have been known to swim through pipes to access a structure. Rats are omnivores and will consume many different types of foods.
Unlike mice, rats need a daily water source. They can obtain water from toilets, sinks, puddles, or from condensation on utility pipes. Rats are suspicious of changes in their environment or new foods, for this reason it may take a couple of days for rats to frequent traps or rodent bait. Rats are nocturnal, with their peak activity at dusk or before dawn.You may see activity during the day when the populations are high.
The Roof Rat is also known as the black rat or the ship rat. They are smaller than the Norway rat with slender bodies that are 8-9 inches long with a tail that is longer. White or grey bellied, they have a pointed nose and large ears. They nest in trees, attics and walls. This species of rats have 4 to 7 litters per year of 6 to 12 young each. They eat lots and they need water to drink.
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