By Chris Williams on October 6, 2017.
Brown rat, or Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) is the most common rat species in New England. There have been isolated reports of populations of the smaller black rat, also known as roof rat (Rattus rattus) in coastal communities. Perhaps this is the species that is prevalent in places like Kittery, but we’ll see. Hopefully I’ll have some evidence to identify at an account I’ll be returning to soon. The brown rat has brownish gray fur (surprise!) somewhat heavy bodied and is about 10 inches in length with a similar length tail. Male rats weigh up to 12 ounces on average with females being slightly smaller. No, contrary to popular belief, they are not as big as cats! Although, probably some of conversations I have had with locals over the years about the rats they used to see while working at the mill or the tannery by the river or whatever may have in fact been muskrats which are semi aquatic rodents, and considerably larger than the Brown rat. But in fairness to them, they probably saw plenty of ‘Wharf’ rats (i.e. Norway, Brown etc.) too. Going back just a few years now (35!) my first job was at a grocery store in an old converted mill and they were always around and opportunistic. At one point they gnawed a hole through the side of the produce walk in cooler! The key to their success is that they are opportunistic. Have poor fitting doors at your home or business? Don’t practice good management of your trash at your home or store (especially a food store or restaurant) and you are just leaving an open invitation to set yourself up for some real trouble. If you suspect you are having trouble with rats, give the pros at Colonial Pest Control a call.