Biology of Norway rat

The brown rat’s scientific name is Rattus norvegicus and can be found in almost any part of the world. It’s most commonly known as the brown rat or sewer rat.

The Norway rat;

• Weighs up to 350gms for the males and 250gms for the females.
• Its teeth will grow with about 51/2 inches per year. Their nibbling and chewing though will ensure the teeth are worn down.
• They measure up to twenty inches from head to toe.
• Brown rats are a little larger than the black rats.
• They have a very good sense of hearing.
• They also have a great olfactory system as this is how they generally get information. Through smell and hearing.
• Rats communicate using pheromones. These chemicals relay messages to other rats about its emotional state, what it has eaten or if it fertile and ready to mate, to give warning to other rats and many other messages.

Breeding and life span
• Generally a brown rat will live for up to two years in the wild and three to four in captivity.
• They mature in about five weeks from birth to sexual maturity and can start breeding immediately.
• A brown rat female will give birth to a litter of about twelve to thirteen young ones, but generally the average is seven pups.
• They can increase up to three times in a span of two months.

Feeding habits
• They are foragers and will therefore eat almost anything they come across.
• Although they will eat almost anything, they favor cereals.
• Young ones wean by observing adult rats to know what to eat and what not to eat.
• They, like their cousins the black rats, are afraid of trying food they haven’t eaten before.
• They also use pica to avoid getting poisoned when they have eaten food that may be poisonous to them. Pica is the act of eating nonfood things like clay.

The brown rats originally came from Asia and went on to multiply and travel all over the word. Within communities, they will be found in.

• Houses, warehouses
• Barns and yards
• In fields.
• Any other places where there are people and sources of water. One interesting fact about brown rats is they are great swimmers and can easily swim up into your homes through your toilets and drainages. And they can do this for a period of up to three days in your house.

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