Skip to main content

The Brown Rat - Rattus norvegicus, And How to Rid Yourself Of Their Presence

The natural world has always been of terrific interest to me, especially when it comes to animals like the great horned owl.

The brown rat - Rattus norvegicus

The thing doesn't look so loathsome here, now does it?

The thing doesn't look so loathsome here, now does it?

Only Antarctica is free of brown rats

The brown rat is unlikely to be anyone's favorite creature. We shouldn't just write the little buggers off completely though, they are very very successful, and surely have something to teach us about how to go about living on planet Earth. I'm unlikely to inspire anyone to loving the brown rat here, and I know this. I don't particularly love them myself. Truth of the matter is, I hardly know any of them. Where I live there are brown rats. Everywhere other than Antarctica has brown rats, and lots of them. Thing is, I hardly ever see any brown rats. Mostly I just see little bitty mice,and then only in brief glimpses.

I'm not saying I've never seen the brown rats. I've seen them. I had a pal once who let his dwelling decay into a disgusting state, and his place had brown rats in it. He didn't care. They didn't seem to bother the man. That's another story though.

A big and ugly brown rat


Americans think of brown rats when they think of New York City

Now I am a rural sort of person, and I know the mostly nocturnal brown rats, or common rats are out there in the night somewhere; and hiding somewhere by day. I know this despite the fact I hardly ever see one. I hear what sounds like hundreds of coyotes a lot of nights, I know those are there despite hardly ever seeing them either. Thing is, rats are associated with dirtiness in my mind, and with dirty cities. Big cities. Mostly, just New York City.

I've been to New York. Oh I've been to Cooperstown, to Buffalo, to Syracuse, but I've never been to New York City. What I mean to say here is that even a rural Texan like me knows the rats in New York City are very very famous rats. Having never seen the place, the first things I think of when someone says something about NYC is that the place is very very densely populated by both humans and brown rats, there's nobody even knows how many miles of tunnels underneath the place, and those track rabbits are everywhere.

Brown rats, three of a kind


Brown rats are all freeloaders who depend on us for food and shelter

It is perfectly impossible to demonstrate an accurate number or census for the rats in New York City. A study was done a year or so ago, and the estimated number of rats there was just two million. In other words, that's just one rat for every citizen of the big American city.

Rats are the ultimate freeloaders. They get every benefit imaginable from humanity. They provide absolutely nothing of any sort of value in return for it. For thousands and thousands of years rats pilfer food, water, and shelter off of humans. If they return anything, it is a negative. Rat shit comes to mind, diseases, funky smells, more rats - the relationship isn't working out well for us. For brown rats, the situation is perfectly marvelous.

Western cultures don't respect rats of any species or color much. We've a predisposition to it, I'm sure, because about one third of our ancestors died from the bubonic plauge. It was a plauge which is well known to have been spread with the aid of rats. People in other places seem to think rats are a bit more respectable. For instance, there is a temple in India where rats are literally worshipped. The place is called the Karni Mata Temple, and there are approximately twenty thousand holy rats inside. Sadly, it isn't economically feasible to capture our rats and ship them to the good people of India. The rats at the temple are black rats, but the revultion you and I feel are likely the same, regardless of the species.

Gardens at the Louvre Museum Are Infested With Parisian Rats


In Paris, France - the brown rat problem makes the one in New York City seem small

Paris, France is a brown rat heaven. There are approximately eight million brown rats in Paris. There are only two million people living within the city limits of that grand old city. Compare this to New York City where there are only two million rats for eight million people. Rats love Paris, I'm not sure why everyone else does. Then again, I've never been to Paris, France either.

The story in Paris gets weirder and worse when you look into it. The vegan PETA types there are sneaking about removing the poisons put out to kill the rats. They even feed them. While nature is important, and humans shouldn't be driving many species of creatures into extinction, it is hard to justify the actions of the animal rights people in Paris.

A brown rat in London, England


There are brown rats everywhere in London, England

In London, England rats are on the rise, literally, in both size and numbers. An economic recession is never a particularly pretty thing, unless you are a bank being bailed out by the very people who you use for all of your success, and thus have used them twice over. Recessions mean more abandoned properties, and more abandoned properties mean the rats have more places to live and multiply undisturbed. Then there is the issue with general human shiftiness, people are too lazy, to unconcerned, to throw their trash away. Leaving a bag of fast food trash with a few nubs of a burger or some fries in it is exactly the sort of thing that allows rats to thrive so well. This problem isn't one to be put on the English exclusively at all, it is a problem the Western mind seems to have turned into a trait. The rats of all stripes love it. They only don't show much thankfulness.

A brown rat in Atlanta, Georgia


Atlanta, Georgia is full of brown rats

Atlanta, Georgia has become another lovely place for a brown rat to live. Atlanta was hit hard by the great recession; and so there were many foreclosures in the area. One can easily determine that banking foreclosures increases the numbers of rats in a city, and the big banks are stuck with absolutely no liability or responsibility for the matter. Besides giving a home to the rodents by maliciously removing the humans for the profits of the bankers - citizens of Atlanta are Westerners, and Westerners are seemingly becoming less concerned about common sense things such as....again, not leaving things to eat around on the streets. Also, a rat can get inside a place through the tinniest openings imaginable. I've no clue how they fit through the cracks and crevices they do, but the do it just the same.

A brown rat in New Orleans

Scroll to Continue

A coyote in a store in Chicago. Hey, they make much better company than brown rats

That is one cool, mean, rat killin' machine!

That is one cool, mean, rat killin' machine!

New Orleans, Baltimore, and Chicago have much in the way of the brown rat

A city like New Orleans, with all its aging frame houses, and all of that flood damage it gets so often, is a natural place for brown rats to invade and dominate. There was a case not so long ago of an infant who bled to death for being chewed on by rats. Yes, rats will eat you alive should you become helpless as you were when you were a small child. Rats don't care, they are omnivores, and will eat just about anything you can imagine. Imagine the animal rights activists in Paris, France removing rat poisons and even leaving food for rats in light of the facts that those very same rats would eat them alive were they immobilized as much as an infant is. You can't reason with some folks, some people are simply unreasonable.

In Baltimore, Maryland the brown rats tunneled all up under one blacktop street. They dug so many tunnels that when the big heavy and loaded garbage truck came down the street, the blacktop collapsed, and the garbage truck sunk to its axles. What next? Oh yeah, it was a garbage truck, full of garbage, and the rats swarmed the truck. Does anyone else here realize the brown rats in Chicago pulled a total batman super-villain style thing there?

Everyone associates these big brown rats with New York City. Well, what about Chicago, why would Chicago be any different? It isn't, but in Chicago, they have coyotes roaming the streets, and the coyotes are handling up on the rat infestation. How cool is that? I think coyotes are beautiful myself. At the same time, you can't exactly trust a coyote. Coyotes are at least less disgusting than are brown rats.

If you are getting the idea that brown rats inhabit just about every major city - you're on to something. You are right, brown rats go wherever people go, and when people live in large cities, they have the tendency to forever trash the place up and make it look like a people pigsty. Humans aren't the cleanest species on the planet, and consumerism seems to drive the litter, feed the rats, and give a general sense of dystopia.

People are forever going on and on about the problem of feral cats. What problem? A cat doesn't really need you to survive. You feed a cat and it still has an instinct to hunt. Ever notice how your fat fed cat will still kill mice or rats? Feral cats are not a problem, rats are a problem.

Rattus norvegicus


Get rid of the brown rats

'Rattus norvegicus' translates from Latin as 'Norway rat.' It's all ridiculous, these rats are all originally from Northern China. They've got a lot of names, Hanover rat is another, but that name came about as people sought to associate the rat problem with the House of Hanover. As if any family could be associated with any nations problem with rats. It was slander. People often call the gutter rats, sewer rats, and who knows just how many other colloquial names.

Other than humans, these brown rats are probably the most successful mammals on planet Earth. Their numbers can't be counted. Their stories are seldom told, at least they aren't told with affection. Oh hey, we captive bred the species called 'lab rats' from the brown rats. So yes, they get used for our benefit, but lets not think that is voluntary.

Brown rats can swim, they can climb, they can somehow find a way inside your home; and they will during the colder months. They are somewhat colorblind, and have generally poor eyesight, but they can smell something to eat from long distances, and what do they eat? Brown rats are true omnivores, and will literally eat anything they can. They have preferences, of course, and those are generally your discarded food stuff. Brown rats can communicate one to another with a large array of sounds, some of which you won't be able to hear at all. Brown rats breed all year long, kinda like the stupid humans who leave food laying around for them, and just what the hell are you going to do about it? I'd say kill them, kill them all. There will forever be more of them, and unless you are some sort of PETA lunatic, you shouldn't have any sorts of problems with any of this rat killin'. Get a cat, get a gun, and if you are a rural sort, blast them buggers. They'll make more, you betcha.

Okay, okay, okay - you don't wanna kill rats, brown ones or black ones, but you don't want them in your home either? Cool. Sista girl, listen here. Rats can hear things you can't hear, and this works to your advantage if you only know how. You can get a product that drives rats away from you, and it contains no poisons, and no brown rats will be harmed. Now, your neighbors may not exactly be all cool with this technique, but they won't be hearing any of this either, unless you tell them. Rats of all stripes are sensitive to ultrasound, and you can purchase an ultrasound producing rat repelling machine to keep your home rat free and clean. The thing also drives away mice, ants, spiders, fleas even. I'm not sure how your cat will feel about it, but then again I'm not sure how your cat feels about you in the first place. You'll need one of the ultrasound devices for every thousand feet of space you wish to drive the rodents away from. It can get expensive, but it is always better to not have brown rats in your home.

For those of us more interested in actually KILLING the brown rats so as to reduce their population. Oh aye, we have something to kill them, and no firearms or cats are going to be needed either. What does it do? Oh, it lures them in and electrocutes them. You know, kind of like how we got rid of Ted Bundy, hey, I hear he's stopped smoking. Myself, I would prefer to have coyotes and cats around. That doesn't work, as the coyotes will eat the cats. The quest to forever build a better mousetrap is an honorable one, and the modern mouse and rat traps are surely more sensible and even more humane than the old fashioned spring loaded things, or those horrible, but somewhat effective glue trap things. I like technology, and so do you. The PestNoMore zapper can be powered by battery, or an a/c 120 volt wall plug, and those things really really work. Friends, thanks for reading - and please kill those brown rats.

Probably this is the best rodent video you will ever see!

A Rat's Life in New York City

© 2016 Wesman Todd Shaw


Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on February 09, 2016:

I will! I'm also going to keep the Blitz going ...for as long as I can. Mamma needs a new pair of shoes! LOL.

The Logician from then to now on on February 09, 2016:

I'm honored! There is more where that came from, just check out my "hilarious stuff" HP for some great laughs.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on February 09, 2016:


That is a TERRIFIC video! I'm using that one here instead of the crappy one I put there.

No, I think I'll use the one I have AND the one you gave me.


The Logician from then to now on on February 09, 2016:

OK Wesman, enough with the wildlife BLITZ! How many more Hub pages have you sandbagged until now? You are the king of plethera.

But they are good, keep them coming! You are a master at illustration, engages the reader like nothing else could! This one reminds me of this:

Related Articles