Types of Rats in Quebec
- Size: About 20 to 25 cm long (excluding tail)
- Color: Brownish-gray
- Appearance: Robust body, tail shorter than the body
- Attractions: Abundant food (waste, pet food), shelters in basements or debris piles, wet areas for water
- Detection Element: Droppings, scratch marks, noises under floors, in walls or ceilings
The Norway Rat, also known as the brown rat, is robust and large, measuring up to 40 cm long including the tail. Its fur is usually grayish-brown, with a lighter belly. It has short ears and a blunt muzzle.
This rat is very common in urban and suburban areas of Quebec, including downtown Montreal, Plateau-Mont-Royal, and Laval. It prefers damp places like sewers, basements, and waste piles. Its habitation in these areas is due to the easy availability of food and shelter. Underground infrastructures like parking lots and metro systems offer numerous refuges. Renovated old industrial areas and the banks of the Lachine Canal are preferred habitats.
Omnivorous, the Norway Rat prefers fruits, seeds, and carbohydrate-rich foods. It is nocturnal and less dependent on human proximity for feeding compared to the gray rat. Though territorial, it is more inclined to flee than fight.
- Size: About 16 to 20 cm long (excluding tail)
- Color: Gray
- Appearance: Slimmer body than the Norway Rat, large ears
- Attractions: Various food sources (fruits, seeds, waste), high places like attics for nests, openings in structures for access
- Detection Element: Gnawing marks, nests, 1 cm long droppings
The gray rat, or black rat, is slimmer and more elegant than the Norway Rat, with a total length of up to 24 cm including the tail. It has smooth fur, generally black or dark gray, and a lighter belly. Its ears are larger and its muzzle more pointed.
The gray rat is common in cities such as Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, and Drummondville. Unlike the brown rat, it prefers elevated places like attics, trees, and roofs. Its presence in these cities is often attributed to the availability of high structures and isolated spaces for nesting and the absence of fierce competition as in larger cities.
Omnivorous, the gray rat prefers fruits, seeds, and carbohydrate-rich foods. It is nocturnal and less dependent on human proximity for feeding compared to the Norway Rat. Though territorial, it is more inclined to flee than fight.
Distinguishing Rats from Other Rodents
Rats are larger and more robust than mice, with relatively smaller ears. Their droppings, longer (1.5 to 2 cm) and capsule-shaped, contrast with the smaller, pointed droppings of mice. Unlike mice, which are agile and can climb easily, rats primarily stay on the ground.
The squirrel, with its bushy tail and lighter fur, is visually different from the rat. Its cylindrical and clustered droppings are larger than those of rats. Active during the day and preferring arboreal habitats, squirrels have a lifestyle distinct from that of nocturnal and terrestrial rats.