The Brown rat, also known as the Common rat, Sewer rat or Wharf rat, is one of the best known; and most common of the rat species.
The Brown Rat Appearance
The Brown rat’s fur is coarse, and usually brown or dark grey; while the underside is a lighter shade of grey or brown. The length of this rodent can reach 10 inches, with the tail measuring an additional 10 inches; or roughly the same length as the body. The adult Brown rat’s average body weight, can be 12 oz (females) to 19 oz (males).
Likely originating from the plains of Asia, Northern China and Mongolia, the Brown rat was introduced to other parts of the world; sometime in the Middle Ages. Today, the Brown rat has spread to all continents; with the exception of the Arctic, Antarctica, isolated islands and Calgary AB Canada. This rodent species is considered the dominant rat in Europe and much of North America, as it is often discovered living wherever humans reside; especially in urban areas.
Brown Rats As Pests
Brown rats that do find shelter in human habitations, will not wander about. Instead, these rodents will (most often) remain within 20 meters of their nesting area, if a suitable supply of food is readily available.
It has been said that there are as many rats in cities as people, but this notion varies from area to area; depending on climate, living conditions, etc. In New York City there is great debate over the size of the rat population, with estimates from nearly 100 million rats; to as few as 250,000. Experts suggest that NYC’s aging infrastructure, high moisture and poverty rates; will continue to contribute to the city’s rodent pest control problem.
Brown Rat Habits
Brown rats are most often active at night, and considered excellent swimmers (surface and underwater). As well, Brown rats are great excavators, and will construct elaborate burrow systems; to provide safety and shelter. However, unlike the related Black Rat (commonly referred to as Roof rat), the Brown rat is a very poor climber.
Similar to other rodents, Brown rats may carry a number of pathogens; which can result in the spread of disease. This is something that causes major concern, in many tenants and home owners. As such, the first sign of a rodent invasion often prompts an immediate pest control response.