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Common Rat Species

There are two main types of rats that cause concern in the UK. The Brown Rat (or common rat) and the Black Rat. They are a common pest in both private homes and businesses.

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If you have seen signs of rats, it may indicate a more serious infestation - If this is the case please call us on 0800 218 2210 so we can help get rid of rats from your premises quickly.

Black Rat

(Rattus rattus)

Black rats are rare in the UK. Their appearance is usually confined mainly to ports.

Appearance

  • The black rat is between 16–24cm in length, with a tail longer than the head and body.
  • It grows to between 150–200g in weight.
  • They have a pointed nose, large ears and a slender body when compared to the Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus).

Life Cycle

  • Black rats produce 5–10 young per litter, and have between 3–6 litters a year.
  • The gestation period is about 3 weeks.
  • It only takes between 12–16 weeks from birth for them to reach sexual maturity.

Habits

  • They often climb as they are incredibly agile.
  • It is rare for them to burrow and they are rarely found outdoors in the UK.
  • Their preferred food is moist fruits. Black Rats will eat around 15g of food a day and drink 15ml.

Brown Rat

(Rattus norvegicus)

Brown rats usually prefer ground living and burrowing, but sometimes they can be known to climb.

Appearance

  • The brown rat is up to 40 cm in length, with a tail shorter than the head and body.
  • It grows up to between 350–500g in weight.
  • It has a blunt nose, small ears and a thicker body when compared to the Black Rat (Rattus rattus).

Life Cycle

  • Rats have 7–8 young per litter, and between 3–6 litters a year.
  • The gestation period is about 3 weeks.
  • It only takes 10–12 weeks from birth to reach sexual maturity.

Habits

  • The brown rat is the only species to occur in sewers in the UK.
  • Preferred food is cereals, although they are omnivorous.
  • They will eat around 30g of food a day and drink 60ml.

Next Steps

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