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Rattus Rattus is a black long-tailed rat which belongs in the subfamily of Murinae, its is also known as Black rat. They are black to light brown in color and their size in body length is 10-24cm and the weight is 150-200g. Black rats are omnivores and are considered serious threats for farmers as they feed on a wide range of agricultural crops.


Also known as:  

Black Rat, Ship Rat, Roof Rat, and House Rat

Scientific Name:

Rattus Rattus


Body length: 10-24cm




Black with a lighter colored belly.


Black rats are thinner than brown rats and have longer tails and larger ears.


Outdoors: black rats stay in high places such as trees, and sometimes in burrows under plants.

Indoors: they sometimes stay in basements, sewers, or under buildings.


Maturity 20-22 days

Weaning: 21-28 days

Sexual maturity: 3-4 months; although the total life may not exceed two years

Disease Transmitted:

The bacterium (Yersinia pestis), Vectors (Oriental rat flea)

Human reaction Symptoms: development of high fever, headache, delirium, swelling of lymph glands, skin eruptions, secondary pneumonia

The Damage:

Black rats eat stored food and can transmit diseases by excretion and urine, bites, and the fleas and mites found in their fur.


Breeding activity occurs from March to November. Females birth 7-8 young after a gestation period of 23-24 days. They are weaned after 3-4 weeks.

Carrying of pathogens

Black rats are known to carry many pathogens and diseases due to their ability to hold several infectious bacteria in their blood


As previously mentioned, that black rats are omnivores and eat a wide range of foods, including a variety of vertebrates and invertebrates. Rats tend to be generalists and are not too specific with their food preference, this shows because they can feed on food provided for cows, chickens, cats, and dogs.

Distribution and habitat

Black rats adopt different types of habitats depending on the availability of food in that area. In urban areas, they are most likely to be found in warehouses, residential buildings, and other human settlements. They are also found in areas where agricultural practices are performed. When it comes to urban areas, they like settling in dry upper levels of buildings. Black rats are also found in the wild and they hide under rocks and since they are great climbers, they live in trees too.

Food searching behavior

Black rats adapt to different micro-habitants and express flexibility in their feeding behaviour, they often meet and search for food in groups, they mostly to go out to look for food after sunset. Rats are food hoarders and when they have found an oversupply of food, they carry the food to a location where they will be able to save for later consumption


As commonly known that rats are prey to cats and owls in domestic settings, in less urban areas, rats are preyed on by foxes and coyotes.  All these rat predators don’t really have an impact in the population control of rats because rats are fast runners and climbers, in addition to this, rats use their good sense of hearing to detect danger and run away from predators

As an invasive species

Black rats are defined as one of the influencers in nature, both positive and negative, this is because rats can eat homemade compost such as leftover food which has been used to fertilize the soil for plant growth. The black rat plays a vital role in the distribution of fungal spores and this activity happens to be doing good in balancing the ecosystem

Life cycle

The life cycle of rats is a year to eighteen months, during this specific time, the female will breed up to six times, with her average litter being seven or eight. Rat Breeding occurs throughout the year, but it predominantly occurs in spring or autumn.

Remember “One Flick and They’re Gone”

Flick Pest Control is here to provide a solution for any rat query you may need help with, or for any other pest control solution, advice or concerns you may encounter. Give us a ring on 087 056 1021, drop us an email on or drop us a comment on our blog or social media platforms

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