Rat Species

The UK is home to two common species of rat - the common Brown Rat and the rarer Black Rat, which have different territories and habits.

Identifying Different Species

When you have a rat infestation, pest control measures need to identify and take into account which species you're dealing with. The same approach won't work for both types of rat, as they have different habits.

Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus) (5642928470)

Brown Rat

Sometimes referred to as Norway or Norwegian Rats, Brown Rats are the most common rat species found in the UK. They're not great climbers and are more likely to nest in burrows or under floor spaces than in higher places. They're good swimmers and have been known to live in sewers.

Larger than other species of rat, they grow up to 40cm in length and 350g-500g in weight. Their tails are shorter than their head and body, and they tend to be quite stocky in the body.

Brown rats consume up to 30g of food per day.

Roofrat Hagenbeck 02

Black Rat

Black Rats are fairly rare and tend to be found near ports. They are climbers rather than burrowers, so they prefer to nest in higher areas like trees or roof spaces.

Black Rats are smaller and slimmer than the more common Brown Rats, growing to between 16 and 24cm in length and up to 200g in weight. Their tails are longer than the head and body put together.

Black rats eat around 15g of food per day

Both Species

Both species of rat have between 3 and 6 litters of young each year. Brown rat litters average 7-8 young, while Black rats give birth to between 5 and 10 young per litter. Both have a gestation period of roughly 3 weeks, but Brown rats come to maturity earlier (10-12 weeks from birth) than Black rats (12-16 weeks from birth).

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