Common rat species

There are two main types of rats that cause concern in Canada. Though not native to Canada, the Norway Rat (or common rat) and the roof rat came over in ships from other countries and are now common pests in both homes and businesses.

If you have seen one of these rat species, call us today at 877-690-2115 to schedule a visit from a Rentokil technician.

Norway rat

(Rattus norvegicus)

Norway rats usually prefer ground living and burrowing, but sometimes they can be known to climb.

Brown rat


  • The Norway rat’s body is about 9.5 inches long, with an 8-inch tail — usually shorter than its body.
  • It grows up to between 200–500g in weight.
  • It has a blunt nose, small ears and a thicker body when compared to the Roof rat (Rattus rattus).
Lifecycle and habits of the Norway rat


  • Norway rats have 4–7 young per litter and between 3–6 litters a year.
  • The gestation period is about 3 weeks.
  • It takes 8–20 weeks from birth to reach sexual maturity.


  • They prefer to nest in burrows in soil along railroad embankments, stream/river banks, piles of garbage, under concrete slabs, etc.
  • They prefer meat, fish, and cereal but will eat practically anything.

Roof rat

(Rattus rattus)

Roof rats can be found in Vancouver and surrounding urban areas on the west coast of Canada.

Black rat


  • The roof rat’s body can be up to 8 inches long, with a tail that can be up to 10 inches — often longer than the head and body.
  • It grows to between 150–250g in weight.
  • They have a pointed nose, large ears and a slender body.
Lifecycle and habits of the roof rat


  • Roof rats produce 6-8 young per litter and have between 4-6 litters a year.
  • The gestation period is about 3 weeks.
  • It only takes between 12–20 weeks from birth for them to reach sexual maturity.


  • They are incredibly agile and very good climbers.
  • Their preferred food is moist fruits. Roof rats will eat around 15g of food a day and drink 60 ml of water.

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