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Brown rat (Rattus norvegicus)

Biology:

The brown rat is the commonest rat species in this area. Common names for the animal reflect its preference for water - water rat, canal rat. It is found around ditches, rivers, canals and streams, from where it enters sewer systems and comes into closer proximity with humans. The animals are also observed in drier places such as garbage dumps, livestock stalls and grain storage structures. Their bodies are somewhat low-slung and plump with body lengths reaching 26 cm. The tail is always shorter than the body and can reach 20 cm. The coat is grey-brown to reddish brown on the upper side and light grey to whitish on the underside. Brown rats have two or three litters averaging 8 young each. The brown rat lives in packs and is well known for its intelligence and mistrustfulness.

Damage:

The brown rat is an omnivore that causes damage by feeding on foodstuffs and feeds and by contaminating them with faeces and urine. They also cause considerable material damage by gnawing. Finally, rats have been infamous transmitters of feared human and domestic animal diseases such as plague, cholera, trichinosis, hoof-and-mouth disease, etc.

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