Eastern Woodrats

Photo: Bob Bluett
The Eastern woodrat is listed as an endangered species in Illinois.
Eastern woodrat

Handling, capture, relocation or lethal removal of any endangered species in Illinois (including the eastern woodrat) is illegal and strictly prohibited without the issuance of a formal endangered species permit issued by the IDNR. Information about Illinois’ endangered or threatened species may be obtained by contacting Joseph Kath, IDNR Endangered Species Program Manager, at:  Joe.Kath@illinois.gov

As the range of the eastern woodrat slowly expands across southern Illinois, it is possible that these animals may seek refuge in or near domestic structures such as homes or out-buildings located in forested areas. Their feces and urine may damage wood floors and beams and they may chew on wires or metal debris. In such cases, the property owner can work with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Endangered Species Program to discuss safe relocation options to suitable rock outcrops.

Click HERE for more information about Eastern woodrats.

The Norway rat is similar in size to the Eastern woodrat, but has smaller eyes and ears, coarser fur, dark underparts, and a naked tail. The Norway rat can be found throughout Illinois, but usually doesn’t venture far from buildings or crop fields. 

Photo: Tony Sutton
Norway rat, also called the brown rat.
The Norway rat, also known as brown rat or subway rat, is not protected in Illinois and may be removed without a permit.