Norway Rat vs Roof Rat

Rattus Norvegicus and Rattus Rattus are the two most widely distributed rat species worldwide.

Our dogs specialize in catching the Norway rat, which lives in extensive burrows in the ground.  They also love to dispatch roof rats, but these are much harder to catch. We’ll often be able to tell which you have by your answers to our questionnaire, which is one reason we ask so much information. We are less likely to hunt for you if we determine that what you have is roof rats, because we will be less effective to the frustration of both human and dog.

So which is which?

Rattus Norwegicus aka common rat, street rat, barn rat, wharf rat, brown rat, sewer rat lives in burrows in the ground mostly around feed sources that contain grains.  These rats are brown, have small ears and their tails, when folded back over the body are as long as or shorter than the body.These rats can hold their breath for amazingly long times.  They swim well and will often nest in river banks.

Rattus rattus, aka roof rat, house rat, black rat, old English rat or ship rat live in walls of houses and attics, in trees and arbors  both of which they will stuff with leaves and other detritus. These rats are black or dark in color, have larger micky mouse ears and long tails, which when folded back over the body will extend past the length of the body.  These rats climb well and tend to feed on fruit.  If you have rats inside your house and more fruit trees than livestock, it is likely you have roof rats.

In addition to these physical characteristics you can also tell which kind of rat you have from the droppings.