A brown rat

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.

Why are we being overrun by rats?

Scientific name: Rattus norvegicus

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Brown Norway rat,
  • Common rat,
  • Hanover rat,
  • Norway rat,
  • Norwegian rat,
  • Sewer rat,
  • Wharf rat

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The Brown rat can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, Australia, China, Europe, Indian subcontinent, Mediterranean, North America, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Stable

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1

BBC News about Brown rat

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