Giant Rat - Big Norway Rat in Seattle

giant rat


09.22.2007 - This photo was sent to me by my brother-in-law Sean, who I trained, and who now operates his own wildlife removal business in Seattle, WA. It's of a giant Norway Rat, or "hog rat" as he called it. I've gotten some very large rats myself here in Orlando Florida, but none as big as this beast! Norway Rats are, on average, larger than the Roof Rats, or Black Rats, that I deal with. Most striking to me is the short, fat tail of this Norway Rat. Roof Rats have very long, black, sleek tails that are longer than the body length. This is probably because Roof Rats require more balance (that's what a tail is for, by the way), when they are jumping through the trees and running across power lines. I can't see this fat fellow pictured above nimbly jumping across branches and running up walls. Though it probably could. Rats are amazingly nimble creatures.

Sean caught this giant rat in the basement of a home in Seattle. That's another difference between the rats - giant Norway Rats like this tend to live below ground more than Roof Rats do. This fatty apparently couldn't get enough food, because it went for the bait on Sean's trap. Luckily, the rat traps that we use are strong enough to kill even a rat of this size instantly. Sean was amazed at the size of this rat, especially after he dealt with the svelte rats of Orlando, so he measured it and emailed me this photo so that I could see for myself the size of this hog.

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Tips on catching giant rats - The best tips for catching giant rats have universal application for most rodents within the home. Catching rats is not effectively done with poison. Poison, if the rats even eat it, will only result in dead rats decaying somewhere within the building. The time and effort that goes into finding dead bodies and removing them would be better spent in setting up snap traps around the infested area. Before any rats can be trapped and removed from the home, the outside of the building needs to be repaired. The small holes and gaps in your home serve as doorways for rodents to enter the interior of the structure. If you do not seal these gaps, mice and rats will continue to invade during the trapping process. You will not be able to eliminate rats until the holes are sealed. Rodent waste and the bodies of dead rodents will create a tempting odor, drawing in other nuisance pests. When the home is sealed, the traps can be effectively set. Setting the traps is the easy part. Finding a good location for the traps requires some detective work. Giant rats will leave urine and large feces in areas where they frequently visit. It may go against your better judgment, but placing traps in these areas without cleaning up the excrement is a good tactic for successful trapping.

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The Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) is a misnomer and the Norway rat is actually a native to northern China. International trade in the 18th century brought these rats all over the world and they can now be found on every continent except Antarctica. Norway rats are also widely known as brown rats throughout the United States, which seems to be a more appropriate name.

Are Norway Rats Dangerous? Why Are They Larger in Urban Areas?

Norway rats are rather dangerous for a variety of reasons. These rats can carry various diseases like plague, jaundice, rat-bite fever, and many others that are spread through their feces, urine, or by getting bitten. Additionally, sometimes Norway rats carry fleas or ticks which can quickly become quite an issue. Your house can also get severely damaged overtime by rats gnawing on its wiring and foundations. If they get the chance, rats will also go into your pantry and eat some food-- which makes it possible for you to get a disease if you eat the food later. Norway rats are larger in urban areas because they've adapted to urban areas and the dangers within them. Norway rats must be large to displace other rodent species who try to steal their food or shelter. Additionally, their size helps them keep warm in the winter months. Between being on the top of the rat food chain and surplus food (trash), Norway rats have reproduced and evolved at an unprecedented rate throughout the world but especially in the United States.

Signs of Infestation

Droppings are the first thing you should be looking for if you believe Norway rats have infested your house. Norway rats have capsule-shaped excrement that ranges between 1.8-2 cm long. Usually, you'll find areas where these droppings are more frequent: this is an area that rats regularly traverse through. You should also watch out for gnawing marks on furniture and grease stains as these will seem to signify a rat living in your house.

How Do I Get Rid of Norway Rats?

There are a few good ways that you can get rid of Norway rats. Generally, when trying to get rid of an animal, you'll want to start with the most humane method and work your way down the list, only killing the animal or hiring an exterminator as a last resort. Additionally, when you're trying to get rid of the rats, try to find out the root of the issue: why did they come in? How did they get in? Finding answers to questions like these will keep future infestations at bay.

The first thing to do for a Norway rat infestation is to make your property unattractive to them. Try sealing garbage cans, sealing any entrances, clean your house, and reduce water sources by fixing your plumbing or any leaks. If the rats do not get discouraged enough to leave your house, then your best option is to simply hire an exterminator to get rid of them. Just make sure that you find where and why they came in and have rectified the situation, otherwise, another infestation will take place in your house.

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