This is a stocky rodent widely found in the USA and Canada that likes to burrow. In urban areas, they can be easily found in warehouses, sewers and basements. In the farm areas, they can be found in granaries, barns, kennels, livestock enclosures and barns.
It is also referred to as brown rat, gray rat, sewer rat, house rat or wharf rat. It has a blunt nose with close set, small ears. Their tails are semi naked and scaly and are longer than the rest of its body combined. This feature is sometimes used to identify them by simply pulling the tail backwards over the body. They have course brownish or reddish gray fur on top with a whitish –gray belly. Fully grown they may weigh as much as a pound.
They eat anything, but in places with an abundance of food they will go for fresh produce, as opposed to decaying matter. They also have to take at least an ounce of water a day. They are nocturnal and come out at night to get their supply of food and water.
Typically they keep within a radius of 50 to 150 feet of their burrows. They are essentially color blind with poor eyesight. However, their sense of touch, smell and taste is quite high which helps them to locate their food and identify other rats. Their sense of taste can alert them to contamination in food even when it is in low levels, so it’s a bit challenging to bait them with contaminated food.