Black Rat vs Brown Rat: What's the Difference?

October 25, 2019

Florida has two common types of rats, brown rats and black rats. You might be thinking a rat is a rat, who cares what color it is? But the color can help you differentiate between them so you know how to control them. Rats carry diseases so it is important to learn prevention steps and to know when to contact a professional for help with rat exclusion in your Jacksonville home.

a roof rat infesting a jacksonville florida livingroom during fall season

Two Types of Florida Rats

The Norway rat is the brown one. It is also known as the common rat, sewer rat, street rat, Hanover rat, Norwegian rat, Parisian rat, water rat, or wharf rat. This is the most common type of rat. The name is deceiving as this rat did not originate in Norway, but most likely came from Central Asia many centuries ago. The Norway rat can be most easily identified by the length of its tail which is shorter than its body. It also has a lighter colored underbelly and feet than the rest of its fur.
The Roof rat is the black one. It is also known as a ship rat or house rat. While the Norway rat is comfortable in water, the roof rat will avoid it. It is a better climber than a swimmer. The roof rat is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia. While the roof rat is not always black, they are darker in color than the Norway rat. They have a pointier face and their tail is a similar length or longer than their bodies. They also have hairless ears.


Problems with Rats

Both of these types of rats are vectors for diseases. The most common issue with rats is that they can trigger allergies in people and transmit foodborne illness such as salmonella. While rare in the US, they can also transmit the bubonic plague and typhoid. If the rat itself doesn’t transmit disease, the pests they carry, such as ticks and fleas, can. Rats are also major agricultural pests because they get in crops for food and ruin the PH balance of the soil with their urine.
You may suspect you have rats in your Florida home if you hear scratching or rustling in the walls or ceiling. You may also spot rodent droppings or see greasy streaks from their fur. And rats have an innate need to gnaw so you may see holes in your foundation, boxes, cabinets, wiring, and more where they have chewed.


Preventing Rats  

To help limit the infestation of rats in your Florida home, make sure all food messes are cleaned up promptly. Don’t leave pet food out if possible. Keep your trash outside in bins that have tight-fitting lids. Keep your outdoor dining areas and grill cleaned. Most importantly, make sure that possible entry points to the home are sealed off.  

Traps can be placed to reduce rat populations, but the safest, most effective way to eliminate rats is to call the rodent professionals at Lindsey Pest Services.


Schedule Your Free Inspection

Complete the form below to schedule your no obligation inspection.

or call (904) 552-2346