Ship rat, Roof rat, Trodman, House rat, Alexandrine rat, Old English rat
The Black rat (Rattus rattus) has an extremely long tail that is longer than its head and body. It likely originated in the Indian subcontinent but is now found worldwide. Romans were the ones who introduced this species to Britain. Black rats are accomplished climbers. They are capable of running along telephone wires, using their tails to balance while moving. Black rats are sometimes kept as a pet and in parts of India, they are considered sacred and respected in the Karni Mata Temple in Deshnoke.
Nocturnality is an animal behavior characterized by being active during the night and sleeping during the day. The common adjective is "nocturnal",...
An omnivore is an animal that has the ability to eat and survive on both plant and animal matter. Obtaining energy and nutrients from plant and ani...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Arboreal locomotion is the locomotion of animals in trees. In habitats in which trees are present, animals have evolved to move in them. Some anima...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
Animals with cosmopolitan distribution are those whose range extends across all or most of the world in appropriate habitats. Another aspect of cos...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
A burrow is a hole or tunnel excavated into the ground by an animal to create a space suitable for habitation, temporary refuge, or as a byproduct ...
A pack hunter or social predator is a predatory animal that hunts its prey by working together with other members of its species. Normally animals ...
Predators are animals that kill and eat other organisms, their prey. Predators may actively search for or pursue prey or wait for it, often conceal...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
A dominance hierarchy (formerly and colloquially called a pecking order) is a type of social hierarchy that arises when members of animal social gr...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
Despite their name Black rats are usually black to light brown in color with a lighter underside. They also have a scraggly coat of black fur and are slightly smaller than Brown rats.
Black rats are widely distributed around the globe, occurring on all continents. Black rats are thought to be native Indian and Indo-Malayan species. In course of time, however, they have been introduced to all continents due to human travel. Since these animals are found through human seafaring, they most frequently occur in coastal areas. Black rats adapt to a wide range of habitats. In urban areas, they are found around warehouses, residential buildings, and other human settlements. They are also found in agricultural areas, such as in barns and crop fields. In urban areas, they prefer to live in dry upper levels of buildings, so they are commonly found in wall cavities and false ceilings. In the wild, Black rats live in cliffs, rocks, the ground, and trees. They are great climbers and prefer to live in palms and trees, such as pine trees. Black rats are also found around fences, ponds, riverbanks, streams, and reservoirs.
Black rats are normally nocturnal and tend to forage after sunset. They often meet and forage together in close proximity within and between sexes. They are highly social animals, forming 'packs' - groups of two or more dominant females and several males, one of which is dominant. These females lead the pack and dominate all members of the group. Meanwhile, the dominant male doesn't submit to them and often forms a separate linear male hierarchy. Female rats are considerably more aggressive than males. Black rats can be either arboreal or terricolous, depending on geographical location. They are excellent climbers, due to which those living in urban areas can make their homes high on the upper floors of buildings. Individuals within the pack establish dominance through aggressive threat postures and physical contact. These rats are also very vocal animals: they are known to give out squeaking sounds when threatened or when communicating with conspecifics. They leave oil marks in order to define territorial boundaries. Black rats also have developed senses of vision, hearing, touch, and smell.
Black rats are omnivorous animals. They eat a broad range of foods but are highly selective feeders. Their diet consists of vegetation such as fruit, nuts, grain, and cereals, supplemented with invertebrates such as insects.
Black rats have a polygynous mating system, where a single male mates with a number of females. Usually, the dominant male is the most successful breeder. Black rats mate from March to November. Their nests are typically spherical and made of shredded material, including sticks, leaves, other vegetation, and cloth. In the absence of palms or trees, they can burrow into the ground. The gestation period lasts for 21-29 days, yielding 3-5 litters of 1-16 young (with an average of 7) per year. Babies of this species are born altricial. Their eyes open only at 15 days old, while hairs appear by the end of the nursing period. The young are weaned, gaining independence at 3-4 years old. Females become reproductively mature at 3-5 months old.
The Black rats are killed by people as pests. In addition, these animals are very dangerous to humans. As pests, they are known to consume crops, destroying farms and fruit trees. Furthermore, they simply destroy what they don't eat. The 'Black Death' or bubonic plague, which took millions of human lives in medieval times, was spread by the Black rats. This is largely due to fleas on their body, which carry multiple diseases that are extremely dangerous for humans and livestock.
According to IUCN, the Black rat is abundant and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. However, according to the People’s Trust for Endangered Species resource, Great Britain's population size is around 1,300 individuals, including up to 1,000 individuals on the Shiant Islands, Hebrides. Overall, Black rats’ numbers are stable today, and the species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.
The Black rat has a rather negative impact on the local ecosystem: this animal has become the reason for the extinction of numerous birds, small mammals, reptiles, invertebrates as well as plants, particularly on islands.