Species category: Rodent
Scientific Name: Rattus rattus
Adults are typically 180-230mm with a longer tail length of 180-240mm. They weigh 120-300g. Droppings are useful for identification; theirs are 12mm long and formed to a point.
Despite its name, the Black Rat is usually black to light brown in colour with a lighter underside.
Black Rats originated from India and Eastern Africa. They were introduced into Europe over 2000 years ago. The black rat can now be found worldwide.
They are often found outdoors and tend to live in fields and farmlands. They will also climb into buildings and structures when food sources are no longer readily available.
Black Rats have incisors that grow at a rate of 4 inches per year. Rats control their incisor teeth by continuously chewing, which can result in extensive damage. They will chew on anything that comes in their path causing considerable destruction.
They also urinate and produce droppings frequently; contaminating everything they come into contact with. Black rats live longer than the Norway rat.
Carriers of over 45 types of diseases, Black Rats contaminate water, food and the environment. Rats cause direct food losses to field crops and stored food and food production chains, as well as indirect food losses, such as packaging destruction and contamination with faeces.