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Brown Rats

Brown Rat Control: Protect Your Home or Business


  • Other names for this rodent include Norway rat, sewer rat, and street rat.
  • Brown rats breed during any season and may produce up to seven litters a year, each with about eight pups.
  • This pest uses its whiskers as feelers to sense the area around it and can move each one individually.


Picture of Norway Rat

Brown rats are the largest members of the rat family, measuring between 12 and 18 inches long. They have short, grayish-brown fur and lighter bellies. A brown rat has a blunt muzzle with white whiskers and bald, rounded ears. Their hairless tail is almost half the length of their bodies. Babies look similar to adults, only smaller in size with darker fur.

How Do Brown Rats Get Inside Buildings?

Brown rats prefer to live in the same places as people. Thanks to their agile bodies, they can squeeze through holes or gaps as small as a dime. This pest often burrows into the ground along foundations and enters through openings around utilities, crawl spaces, or pipes and vents.

Discarded scraps are a major food source for the brown rat. Restaurants, hospital cafeterias, and hotel kitchens might find them digging in the trash or crawling into dumpsters through drain plugs. These rodents are more common near sources of water, so businesses along lakes, rivers, and oceans run a higher risk of having brown rats.

Signs of A Brown Rat Infestation

  • Nighttime – Because brown rats are nocturnal, you might hear scurrying or chewing sounds at night.
  • Droppings – If you see dark, capsule-shaped droppings along baseboards and near food, it’s a clear sign of an infestation.
  • Gnawing – You may notice teeth marks on furniture or chewed electrical cords.
  • Holes – Raised earth around foundations or walls could be a brown rat making its way inside a building.

Problems Caused by Brown Rats

Brown rats can carry diseases and contaminate food with their waste. Hantavirus is a dangerous respiratory illness that people can get by inhaling or ingesting particles of dried rat urine, saliva, or feces. On rare occasions, a brown rat might also bite, which can lead to rabies or rat-bite fever.

In addition to frightening patrons and guests, brown rats are a health code violation that could put businesses in legal trouble. If you do not handle the problem immediately, the rats can start to take over kitchens and pantries, finding new places to hide. They eat or ruin ingredients, gnaw on furniture, and destroy wires on appliances.

Prevention Tips

Brown rats need food, water, and a few good hiding spots. To keep them out, seal any cracks around pipes, vents, or foundations. Remove nearby piles of brush and use garbage cans with tight lids. You should also pick up pet bowls to avoid attracting these pests. If you think you have a brown rat infestation, contact the experts at Western Pest Services.

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