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Common Rat

(Rattus norvegicus)

Size: 200-280mm – 170-230mm tail Weight: 270-600g Lifespan: max. 3 years in the wild


Identification: Brown/black fur, short fleshy hairy ears, long scaly tail, relatively pointed muzzle, relatively large size. General: Although generally associated with people and their habitats the brown rat as it is more commonly known has expanded its range to cover uninhabited islands. On islands they subsist by predating seabird colonies and attempts are being made to eradicate them from a number of smaller islands, nationally and internationally. They are found around farm buildings and farmland, particularly field margins around root crops and hedgerows and ditches around cereals, outdoor pig units, pheasant feeders and cover crops. They are also found in urban areas such as refuse tips, sewers, urban waterways and warehouses. Brown rats naturally live in burrow systems, but are also found under Juvenile’s droppings floorboards, in roof spaces and in walls. Holes leading to underground tunnels can be easily seen next to watercourses - distinct well-trodden runs join one to another. These can be confused with water vole burrow systems - useful distinguishing signs are the droppings. Rat droppings are c12mm long and fairly thin, and are often dark and taper to a point at both ends with a coarser surface. PP

Distribution - UK: Very widespread throughout the UK. 23

Cambridgeshire Mammal Atlas  
Cambridgeshire Mammal Atlas