Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) are stocky burrowing rodents that were unintentionally introduced into North America by settlers who arrived on ships from Europe (Figure 1). Also called brown rats or sewer rats, these destructive pests are found in and around towns and farms throughout Missouri. These rodents eat and contaminate large amounts of feed, and damage structures and insulation by their movements and gnawing activities. In addition, they can spread diseases that affect livestock and humans. Norway rats are not protected by law. They may be controlled with any pesticide registered in Missouri for rat control or by use of mechanical means such as traps. This guide provides information on how to recognize and manage a rat infestation.
When controlling a rat problem, or any wildlife damage problem, you need to understand the basic components of wildlife damage management:
- How to recognize damage patterns and identify the species responsible
- Biology of the species in relation to management and the damage occurring
- Management alternatives
- Local, state and federal laws and regulations
Refer to MU Extension publication G9425, Solving Wildlife Damage Problems in Missouri, for more information.
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