Rats

Brown Rat
Brown Rat
(Rattus norvegicus)
The Brown Rat is one of the most well-known and common rats, and also one of the largest. Traditionally the dominant rodent of Europe and thought to have originated in northern China, the Brown Rat has spread to all continents, and is a common pest wherever humans live, particularly in urban areas and degraded environments.

It has been given a number of different names, including Ship Rat, Norway Rat, Wharf Rat and Common Rat. The Brown Rat is a true omnivore and will consume almost anything, but prefers grains, and eats up to a third of bodyweight a day Brown Rats are known to catch fish or small rodents.

They are usually active at night and are good swimmers, but poor climbers. The Brown Rat can breed throughout the year if conditions are suitable, a female producing up to eight litters a year. The gestation period is only 21-23 days and litters can number up to fourteen, although seven is common.

Black Rat
Black Rat
(Rattus rattus)

The Black Rat also known as the Ship Rat, Roof Rat or House Rat is a common long-tailed rodent of the genus Rattus and the family muridae (Old World rodents). The species originated in tropical Asia and spread through the Near East in Roman times before reaching Europe in the 8th Century and spreading with Europeans across the world.

It is largely confined to warmer areas, having been supplanted by the Brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) in cooler regions. Despite its name it comes in several colour forms and is a poor swimmer. It is usually black to light brown in colour with a lighter underside. A typical rat will be 20 cm long with a further 20 cm of tail.

It is agile and climbs well, tending even to flee upwards. It is nocturnal and omnivorous, with a preference for grains although it spoils more than it consumes. In a suitable environment it will breed throughout the year, with a female producing three to six litters a year of up to twenty young. A rat can live for up to four years. Social groups of up to sixty can be formed.

 

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