How The Norway Rat Conquered New York | Westchester NY Rat Control Experts

Norway rats are a staple in any big city, with billions of them living in cities across the world, and millions of them living in New York in particular. And they are not exactly welcomed guests. They go through food supplies that don’t belong to them, and they contaminate everything with disease that is spread through their feces and urine. They are also an invasive species that upsets the balance of many ecosystems around the world, threatening numerous species with extinction.

However, despite their all-pervasive presence wherever there are human settlements, this rat is still largely mysterious, with scientists having little understanding of how these rodents came to be our unwanted companions. This is changing however, with researchers looking into the genetics of the Norway rat in order to gain some insights into this pest species.

What the research has shown was that the Norway rat has been spreading slowly over thousands of years, until it infested most of the planet. Researchers also found that once the rat settles in a new city, it repels all newcomers.

So how did these rats manage to take over New York city? What is the story behind their success?

In order to answer these questions, researchers sampled the DNA of hundreds of Norway rats from around the world, from Brazil to New Zealand and Japan. All in all, the research team managed to analyze the DNA samples of 314 Norway rats from 30 countries.

Originally, this rodent roamed the plains of northern China and Mongolia, feeding on small animals and wild plants. Eventually, farming came to the area, and the rats found the food supplies to be much more plentiful in human settlements. From there, the rats started to migrate to southeastern Asia, and after a long period, the wave of rats spread northeast as well, infesting Siberia and Japan. Another branch of the species went westward, reaching Europe, presumably by overland routes, although there are theories that they were much more successful in reaching Europe aboard trading ships.

However, despite their propensity for travel, the Norway rat was a lot slower than its close relative the black rat, and the all too familiar house mouse. Despite this, the Norway rat has more than made up for its slacking in the past three centuries, reaching the US and Canada in the 1700s and 1800s. Once on the shores of the North American continent, which it reached through trading ships, it was only a matter of time before it took over New York City.