Posted by: braddenvillage | July 11, 2010

Rats – The Brown Rat


Brown rats are the scourge of many a farm and town. They are one of the most serious mammalian pests on the planet, spoiling grain and carrying disease, yet they remain one of the most successful. The secret of the brown rat’s success lies in its opportunistic way of life and extraordinary ability to reproduce, with a pair multiplying to 200 in just one year. They are also expert jumpers, climbers and swimmers to boot. Living in dark damp sewers and rubbish dumps does nothing for their reputation. Originating from Asia, brown rats rapidly colonised Europe in the early 18th century.

Scientific Name:

Rattus norvegicus

Weight :

Up to 400g

Life Span:

Up to 18 months

Description :

The Brown rat has coarse, grey-brown fur with a thick scaly tail, which is always shorter than its body, and has small finely haired ears.

Distribution :

Brown rats are common throughout the UK including inner city areas.

Habitat :

Found in almost every type of habitat from woodlands, riverbanks and farmland to rubbish tips, sewers and urban areas.

Predators :

Foxes, owls and cats, in addition to poison laid to kill vermin.

Reproduction :

A litter of 11 young may be born to a large female in a nest of warm dry material. The female may have as many as 5 litters per year.

Status :

Often found in large numbers throughout Great Britain.

Did You Know?:

There is a high mortality rate of young rats with as many as 95 per cent perishing.

Footprint Description:

Fore foot has 4 digital pads, hind foot has 5. 5 interdigital pads on forefoot, 6 on hind. Hand outline often present where tracks are visible. Hind foot print has long heel pad, which is often visible.

Footprint Size:

hind foot – 3.3×2.8cm, fore foot – 1.8×2.5cm. Stride around 14-15cm.

Droppings Description :

Droppings are approx 2×0.6cm, round in cross section with slightly tapered end. Deposited in regular latrines. Colour may vary depending on diet. Care must be taken if handling Brown Rat droppings due to the risk of Leptospirosis or Weil`s disease.

South Northamptonshire Council will deal with Rats at no cost – click here to go to their website

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