Brown Rat Rattus norvegicus


Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus)

Scavenging bird seed, nature reserve. 26th October 2012. © Peter Hillman

Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus)

Discovered on nature reserve.
26th October 2012. © Peter Hillman

Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus)

Discovered on nature reserve.
26th October 2012. © Peter Hillman

Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus)

Discovered on nature reserve.
26th October 2012. © Peter Hillman

Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus)

Discovered on nature reserve.
26th October 2012. © Peter Hillman

Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus)

Discovered on nature reserve.
26th October 2012. © Peter Hillman

Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus)

Discovered on nature reserve.
26th October 2012. © Peter Hillman

Family Muridae

Head & body length 21-29 cm.
Tail length 17-23 cm.
Weight 200-400 g.

Also called the Norway Rat or the Common Rat, it is an intelligent creature, and one of the most successful followers of humans for thousands of years, eating, breeding, and nesting amidst the population. With long, greyish-brown fur, a long, scaly tail, fairly large ears and a pointed snout, it is an unmistakable animal.

This rodent is a very good swimmer and diver, and excellent at climbing. It spends quite a lot of time washing and grooming itself. It lives in large colonies in tunnels which may be used for generations. The female can give birth to 6-11 pups, and can have up to 5 litters in a year. Rats are predated on by cats, foxes and owls, which tend to go for the young. It can live for up to 18 months.

As an omnivore, it eat seeds, plants, fruit, human food, mice, birds, eggs, fish and carrion.

Seen all year round, the Brown Rat is found in towns and cities, on farms, rubbish tips, in sewers, warehouses and storehouses, waterways, and also in hedgerows, wasteland, and agricultural fields. Originally introduced to Britain from Asia in the 18th century, it is a common and widespread species.