Do Norway Rats Hibernate in the Winter?

Like many animals, the Norway rat prefers temperate weather over cold, harsh winters. However, Norway rats do not hibernate. Instead, they simply seek warmer accommodations, often ending up in homes. These nocturnal pests remain active year-round, causing significant damage to buildings, fouling stored food, and negatively impacting human health.

Damage to Homes

Norway rat breeding does slow down during colder months, but that doesn’t mean it stops altogether. A growing colony of these pests can cause serious structural damage to an infested home.

Nest Building

Ripped insulation, upholstery, and paper make perfect nesting materials for baby Norway rats.


This species is notorious for digging tunnels around home foundations that can compromise safety and stability.


Norway rats grind down their ever-growing teeth by chewing on floor and ceiling joists, wiring, door corners, siding, and other hard surfaces.

Stored Food Losses

Because Norway rats do not hibernate during winter, they need to keep foraging for food. The omnivorous pests will eat almost anything, including scraps left in garbage cans and packaged goods in pantries. They may even save leftovers for later in hollow walls, attracting insects.

Impact on Health

People can become ill following bites, scratches, or contact with these pests’ waste. Rodents are associated with the spread of bubonic plague, salmonellosis, lepto spirosis, and tularemia. Since Norway rats do not hibernate, the disease, damage, and destruction they cause doesn’t take a break either. People with rodent infestations should seek professional pest removal services from the experts at Critter Control.

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