Urban rat looking out over the roofs in a small town
Roof or Norway Rat?

Rats are common pests in residential areas, but they’re not all the same. Roof rats and Norway rats are the most common species that Hilton Head rat control professionals deal with. These are some of the most noticeable differences between the two.

Physical Appearance

Roof rats are smaller and more slender than Norway rats. They can grow up to 17 inches long, with tails that are as long as or longer than their bodies. They also have large ears and more pointed muzzles compared to Norway rats. Roof rats range in color from black to gray or brown.

Norway rats are heavier than roof rats and can grow up to about 18 inches long. However, their tails aren’t as long as those of roof rats. Norway rats have blunt muzzles and smaller ears and are usually brown in color.


Roof rats get their name from their ability to jump and reach the upper parts of buildings. They nest in high places and are also found near streams and other water sources.

Norway rats tend to stay closer to the ground. They are know to burrow into the ground near farms and other buildings or build nests in garbage dumps.


Roof rats like to eat fresh produce, seeds, wheat, corn and vegetation.

Norway rats prefer eating livestock feed, sugar, meat, bread, beans and other sources of carbs and protein.

Whether you have a problem with roof or Norway rats, it’s time to get help. Contact Island Pest Control to eradicate your rat infestation. We offer dependable Hilton Head rat control services, as well as other pest control services.