The Rat Next Door: Ohio’s Common Norway Rat

One of the least welcome houseguests is the rat. Stealthy and quick, these pests can invade our homes and contaminate our food. 

In Ohio, the most common type of rat is the Norway rat, and it’s one you’ll definitely want to call a pest control company to get rid of if you’re unlucky enough to have it in your home.

Read on to learn more about this invasive species and what you can do to keep them out of your home.

Key Takeaways

  • Norway rats are nuisance pests in Ohio that can spread disease and severely damage buildings. 
  • Signs of an infestation include greasy marks on the walls, droppings, and scratching sounds. 
  • If you think you may have a Norway rat problem, the first step is to contact your local pest control company. 

The Norway (Brown) Rat

Have you ever seen a rat dart across the street and wondered what kind it was? In North America, there are two main types of rats that you might see: the Norway rat and the roof rat.

For those of us in the Buckeye state, you’re most likely to see Norway rats. Here’s what to watch out for.


The Norway rat is a large rodent that can grow up to 18 inches long from nose to tail. They are brown or reddish-brown in color with a shaggy coat, and their tails are shorter than their bodies. Females typically weigh between 10 and 16 ounces, while males can weigh up to 22 ounces. 

These rats are good swimmers and excellent climbers, so they can access your home through any opening they can find—including sewer lines!

Norway rats are not shy about entering homes in search of food and shelter. In fact, they will even set up nests inside your walls or in your attic. Not only are these pests a nuisance, but they can also pose a serious health risk to you and your family. 


Norway rats are omnivores, which means that they will eat just about anything. In the wild, their diet consists of things like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and meat. 

Norway rats will also eat just about anything else if they are hungry enough. These rodents have been known to eat birds, snakes, frogs, and even smaller rats! 

However, when they invade your home, they will likely eat your food as well as scavenge things like insulation or fabric in order to build their nests. 


Norway rats are very adaptable and can live in a variety of different habitats. They are most commonly found in urban areas such as sewers, warehouses, basements, and garages. 

Norway rats are good swimmers and excellent climbers, so they can access places that other animals cannot. These rodents typically build their nests out of soft materials such as paper or cloth. 


Norway rats reproduce quickly and can have up to seven litters per year. Each litter usually consists of six to twelve baby rats. Baby rats are born blind and deaf and are completely dependent on their mother for food and shelter. Norway rats reach sexual maturity at around three months old and can start reproducing immediately.

Due to their high reproductive rate, Norway rats can quickly become a nuisance if they are not controlled. If you believe there may be Norway rats living on your property, it is important to take action right away. These rodents can spread disease and cause damage to both buildings and infrastructure.

Are Norway Rats Harmful?

Norway rats can cause a lot of damage to properties, as they like to gnaw on wood, wires, and pipes. 

Rats can carry diseases such as Salmonella and Leptospirosis, which can be transmitted to humans through contact with their urine or feces. In addition, rats are known to chew through electrical insulation, which can cause house fires. 

If you’re trying to handle your Norway rat problem yourself, be sure to wear gloves and a mask to protect yourself from exposure to these diseases. 

How to Know If a Norway Rat Made Your Home Their Home

If you think you may have a Norway rat infestation, there are a few things you can look for. 

These rodents like to hide in dark, humid places like basements and crawl spaces. 

Call a pest control professional right away if you see any of these signs:

  • Droppings: Norway rats typically leave behind 20 to 50 droppings per day. These droppings are usually ¼ to ½ inch in size and have a blunt end. 
  • Gnaw marks: Norway rats like to gnaw on wood, plastic, aluminum, and insulation. If you see gnaw marks around your home, it’s a good indicator that you have an infestation. 
  • Footprints: You may be able to see footprints or tail drag marks in dusty areas of your home. 
  • Nests: Norway rats build their nests out of materials like paper, fabric, insulation, and twigs. If you find a nest on your property, it’s a sure sign that you have a rat problem. 
  • Noises: You may hear scampering or gnawing noises coming from behind walls or under floors if you have a Norway rat infestation. 

How Can I Prevent a Rat Infestation?

No one wants rats in their home. Not only are they unsightly and smelly, but they can also be dangerous to your health. Rats can carry diseases that are harmful to humans, and they can also cause damage to your property. If you have rats in your home, it’s important to take steps to get rid of them as soon as possible. 

But even if you don’t have an infestation yet, it’s important to be proactive and take steps to prevent rats from taking up residence in your home. Here are some tips on how to do just that.

First, keep your home clean and clutter-free. Rats are attracted to places that are cluttered and dirty. Vacuum regularly, sweep your floors, and dust your surfaces. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink, and make sure food is properly stored in airtight containers. A clean house is a rat-free house.

Make sure your trash cans have tight-fitting lids. Rats will rummage through trash cans in search of food scraps. If you want to keep rats out of your garbage, make sure your trash cans have tight-fitting lids that rats can’t easily access. You should also empty your trash cans regularly so that they don’t attract rats with their food smells.

Keep your yard tidy by raking up leaves, trimming bushes, and removing any other debris. A messy yard is an invitation for rats — they’ll use it as a place to hide and build their nests. You should also eliminate any sources of water that might attract them, such as pools of standing water or leaky sprinklers.

Seal up any cracks or holes around your home. Rats can squeeze through incredibly small spaces — as small as a quarter of an inch! 

This includes gaps around doors and windows, vents, plumbing, and electrical wiring. By sealing up these openings, you’ll make it much harder for rats to get into your home. 

And if you do notice an infestation of Norway rats, call an exterminator. 

An experienced exterminator will be able to quickly identify the source of the problem and put together a plan to get rid of the rats for good. In some cases, you may need ongoing treatment or maintenance services to keep the problem from returning in the future. 


To prevent these pests from taking up residence in your home, seal up any openings around the perimeter of your house and keep your yard clean and free of debris where rats could hide during the day. Keep the interior of your home clean as well. And don’t hesitate to call an exterminator.

Rats are unwelcome houseguests that can carry disease and cause damage to your home. The most common type of rat in Ohio is the Norway rat.

If you take these steps, you’ll help ensure that rats aren’t on the list of things to worry about!