There are two species of Rat
in Britain, Rattus Norvegicus which is commonly known as the Common or Brown Rat
. The Rattus Rattus, known as the Ship or Black Rat
is now rarely found in the UK. The adult Brown Rat
can often weigh over half a kilo and its body measure around 23cm, that's not including its tail. It has a blunt muzzle, small hair-covered ears and a tail that could be three quarters of its body length. Rats have an incredible sense of smell, taste and touch. They have an acute sense of hearing, frequently using ultrasound to communicate. Both species breed rapidly and become sexually mature in about three months. Each female may produce from 3 to 12 litters of between six and eight young in a year.
Rats need to gnaw to keep their constantly growing incisor teeth worn down. They have no trouble chewing woodwork, brick, lead or plastic pipes, and will chew straight through electrical cables. Brown Rats live in any situation that provides food, water and shelter. They will live in roof spaces, under floorboards and even in wall cavities. In the garden they will burrow into grassy banks, under sheds or in the sewer, they like the warmth of a compost heap. Rats feed mostly under the cover of night if you are seeing them during the day they are either very confident all well established in the area. An average rat will eat about 50g of food a day, rats are omnivorous and will eat almost anything that humans eat.