Dluogs's picture

Rat

Observed: 4th September 2011 By: DluogsDluogs’s reputation in Mammals
Brown Rat from side
Brown Rat from side 1
Description:

A fairly small rat seen feeding on spilt bird seed in a garden.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

the naturalist man's picture

Rats

The easiest way to identify this as a brown rat is location; black rats are only found in two or three sites - all coastal.

Black rats have a uniform dark coloured tail, also the body tends to be a uniform colour; this animal has a pale tail and a blotchy pelage.

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'
http://www.ispot.org.uk/forum/8411

Dluogs's picture

Thank you! Really helpful

Thanks for this - it's really helpful. I have a small guide to mammals but it I had no idea from it that black rats were so rare here. It never occurred to me to check the NBN maps though I often do for plants and invertebrates. With a name like "Rattus rattus", I somehow expected them to be common!

the naturalist man's picture

Common rat

The black rat is the nominate species and, elsewhere in the world, the commonest species; being an isolated island with a disproportionate influence on the scientific world we sometimes forget people in other countries have the right to name species! Also we tend to think about the here-and-now; I do it myself. Linnaeus named the black rat Rattus rattus, in 1735, possibly before brown rats had been introduced into Sweden where he lived; therefore, they were the commonest rat.

The brown rat did not take a foothold in Britain till the mid eighteenth century when they quickly established themselves and successfully out competed the black rat which, being of Asiatic origin, prefers warmer climates than Britain and could not compete with the hardier brown rat.

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'
http://www.ispot.org.uk/forum/8411