Norway Rats are one of two species of rats in British Columbia. They are usually brown or dark grey in colour, with lighter grey or brown underparts. The ears are smaller than in BC's other rat species, the Black Rat. The tail of the Black Rat is longer than its total body length, while the tail of the Norway Rat is shorter than the total body length (Rattus rattus
), and this can help distinguish them.
Carl and Guiget (1958) provide insight into this species arrival in BC: "The Norway Rat apparently arrived in British Columbia very early, probably with the first [sailing ships]. The Norway Rat is well established throughout the coastal sections and just about everywhere." Nagorsen (2005) indicates that although it was common in Vancouver by the 1880's, it did not arrive in the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii) until 1980.