Black rat

Black rat



Black or brown


About 40 cm long

Also known as

Ship rat, common rat, street rat, sewer rat, wharf rat, Hanover rat, Norway rat, Norwegian rat and Parisian rat,

Black rat (Rattus rattus) Identification

The black rat (Rattus rattus) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae, and is the most common species of rat in the world. It is believed to have originated in India and spread throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa, and eventually to the Americas. The black rat is easily recognized by its long, slender body, pointed snout, large ears, and short, scaly tail. It has a black or dark brown coat that is often lighter on the underside and feet. The black rat is slightly smaller than the brown rat, averaging 16-24 cm in length and 40-120 g in weight. It is an omnivore, living on a wide variety of plant-based foods, including fruits, grains, and nuts, as well as insects and other small animals.

black rat
black rat

The black rat is an important pest species, with a wide range of negative impacts on crops, buildings, and human health. It is an efficient vector for a number of diseases, including bubonic plague, typhus, and leptospirosis. As a result, it is often targeted for eradication or control. To identify black rats, it is important to look for the characteristic features of the species, including its size, shape, fur colour, and tail. Additionally, black rats may leave behind droppings, tracks, and gnawed materials that can help identify them.

Habitat, Diet, and Life Cycle


The black rat is highly adaptable and can thrive in a wide range of habitats, from urban areas to agricultural and forested regions. It prefers to live in dark, sheltered areas, such as attics, basements, and walls. It is also often found living in sewers and on ships, where it can access plentiful food and shelter.


The black rat is an omnivore, meaning it eats both plant and animal matter. Its diet consists of a wide variety of fruits, grains, nuts, insects, and other small animals. The black rat is a very efficient scavenger and can quickly exploit a food source.

Life Cycle

The black rat can reach sexual maturity as early as 3-4 months of age. Females produce litters of up to 7 young after a gestation period of 21-23 days. Once born, the young reach maturity in 2-3 months. The black rat typically lives for 1-2 years in the wild.

The best way to identify a black rat

The best way to identify a roof rat  (Rattus rattus) is to look for the characteristic features of the species. These features include a long, slender body, pointed snout, large ears, and short, scaly tail. The coat is typically black or dark brown, lighter on the underside and feet. The size of the black rat is slightly smaller than the brown rat, averaging 16-24 cm in length and 40-120 g in weight.

In addition to identifying the black rat by its physical characteristics, it is possible to identify a black rat infestation by its droppings, tracks, and gnawed materials. The droppings of the black rat are typically 2-3 cm long, dark and pointed at one end. The tracks will be small and narrow, with four toes on the front feet and five on the back feet. Gnawed materials are also a sign of black rat activity, as they are known to chew on wires and cables.

Finally, if an infestation is suspected, it is important to contact a qualified pest control professional to inspect the premises and confirm the presence of the black rat. They will be able to provide advice on the best way to control and eliminate the infestation.

Other species of rats can be mistaken for black rats?

The other species of rats that can be mistaken for black rats include the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus), the Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus), the house mouse (Mus musculus), and the wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus). The brown rat is typically larger than the black rat, measuring up to 30 cm in length. It is also distinguished by its grey-brown fur and blunt snout. The Norway rat is similar in size and colour to the black rat, but has a heavier body and a thicker tail. The house mouse is much smaller than the black rat, measuring up to 8 cm in length, and has a light brown coat and large ears. The wood mouse is also smaller than the black rat, measuring up to 11 cm in length, and has a light brown coat and long, thin tail. If you are unsure of the species, it is best to contact a professional for assistance.

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    Karin HarndenKarin Harnden
    17:14 05 May 24
    We thought we had bedbugs but could find no evidence apart from what we thought were bites. I called Bon Accord and Gabriel was there within a couple of hours. He told us we had carpet beetle. Finding the evidence and showing us photos of the skin reaction which was exactly what we had. He advised and returned at a time to suit us to spray which was done thoroughly and efficiently. No sign of the little critters returning. Thank you Gabriel.
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    21:02 11 Apr 24
    Gabriel went above and beyond. He is extremely knowledgable and very efficient at what he does. The results were outstanding. Nothing is too much for him. Delighted with his professionalism and work.
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    19:11 03 Apr 24
    Top-notched pest control service!! Went above and beyond to eradicate the rats from our property. Gabriel even offered to further investigate the infestation issues for our neighbours. We found him to be extremely professional and easy to work with. We highly recommend Gabriel to anyone in need of pest control.
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    Gabriel provided great service , responded quickly on an emergency for pest infestation, professional and friendly. No more pests at home.
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    21:53 02 Apr 24
    Gabriel was absolutely wonderful, a real life saver when I found a mouse by my bed at 10pm. He came in less than an hour and was able to catch the mouse and put my mind at rest so I could go to sleep! Highly recommend, fab service and lovely people.
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    10:54 24 Feb 24
    Gabriel turned up with an hours notice one evening and immediately identified the issued. He works efficiently and professionally throughout with timely follow-ups to ensure the problem was resolved. Once completed he was kind enough to continue to check in to see that the issue had gone. Having had Rentokil previously that spent two years doing very little this was a complete breathe of fresh air and solved the problem in less than two weeks. We are grateful and would highly recommend his services.
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    20:26 20 Feb 24
    We were lucky to have found Bon Accord, they responded very fast to our request and Gabriel was very helpful and informative. He made several visits and did his absolute best until the mice problem we had was gone. Highly recommended.

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