Rats in New Zealand

Rats are a problem in Auckland. Rats can transmit diseases and destroy property. They pose a major risk to our environment, economy, health and wellbeing.

Rodent control is one of the most common enquiries we get at Bug King, particularly over winter, and any Auckland home or business can face a rat problem.

A bit about rodents

These species of rats are the most frequent offenders in New Zealand.

  • Norway or brown rat (Rattus norvegicus)
  • Ship or common rat (Rattus rattus)
  • Kiore or Polynesian rat (Rattus exculans)

rodent control nz

At Bug King, we understand that finding rats in your home or business can be very distressing, but let’s talk about rats and the Auckland rat problem.

Brown rats

An average adult Norway or brown rat weighs about 500gms and its long, hairless tail is shorter than the head and body. Although Norway rats can climb, they tend to prefer to be closer to the ground, and will nest under buildings and concrete slabs, along riverbanks, and in rubbish and compost piles, creating elaborate systems with several escape holes.

Ship rats

Sometimes called black, common or roof rats, these rodents are not usually as large as brown rats. They have a pointed muzzle, larger ears, and a tail that is longer than their body.

Good climbers, they can be found in trees and vine-covered fences, which is how they often get into buildings.


Kiore were the first rats to be introduced to New Zealand and are now mainly found in the lower South Island. They have brown fur and white-tipped grey fur on their belly.

Their thin tails are about as long as their bodies and they are smaller than other rats in Aotearoa, weighing around 60g – 80g.

Rat habits

Rodents are usually nocturnal, but as population densities increase, they can come out during daylight hours.

Rat populations can grow incredibly fast. If left unchecked to do their thing, one pair of rats can produce 6 to 12 young in 21 days. Sexual maturity is reached at 3 months. Therefore, assuming adequate food, water, and shelter, one couple may multiply into more than 640 rats in 1 year.

That is a lot of rats!

If you’ve got a rat problem at your Auckland property, don’t worry. You’re not alone and we can fix your particular Auckland rat problem in no time. Call Bug King on 0800 546454 to find out about Auckland’s top rodent control services – rat extermination that works every time.