Brown Rat, Rattus norvegicus


Short description of Rattus norvegicus, Brown Rat

The large size and long, thin, almost hairless tail distinguish rats from other grey-brown rodents.  Confusion is possible with water vole, but these are smaller and darker brown, with shorter ears, a furry tail and a blunter snout.  The ship rat is slimmer than the brown rat, with relatively longer ears and a tail that is longer than its body.  The brown rat's tail is shorter than the body length and has a paler underside.

Description of Rattus norvegicus, Brown Rat status in GB

The brown rat is very abundant in GB and almost ubiquitous in both urban and rural environments.  The GB pre-breeding population was estimated to be at least 6.8 million animals in 1995.

Habitat summary: Rattus norvegicus, Brown Rat

Brown rats are found in a very wide range of habitat types, typically in association with humans.

Overview table

Environment: Terrestrial
Species status: Non-Native
Native range: Middle Asia, China, Kazan-retto, Nansei-shoto, Ogasawara-shoto, Russia Central, Russia East, Russia North, Russia Northwest, Russia South
Functional type: Omnivore
Status in England: Non-Native
Status in Scotland: Non-Native
Status in Wales: Non-Native
Location of first record: first record is unknown (ancient)
Date of first record: 1720

Distribution map

GB Distribution from NBN Atlas

Author's name:

John Marchant

Last updated:

March 12th, 2012

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