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What is the large, brown rat looking thing in my backyard?

So What is the large, brown rat looking thing in my backyard?

Large brown rats in the London area are Norway Rats. They are often found living in close proximity to humans, especially where food is readily available.

Brown rats can grow up to a foot long with a similar size tail and weigh as much as a small house cat. They have a pointed snout and large ears. Norway rats have poor eyesight but they do have an excellent sense of smell, taste,touch and hearing.

Norway rats eat a wide variety of foods but prefer cereals, breads and meat. They usually begin foraging for food at dusk. However they can be found out during the day as well

In your backyard Norway Rats may live under sheds, abandoned cars or in rubbish piles. Rats in urban areas are often found living in sewer systems or basements.

In the last decade across the UK there has been a huge increase in wild rats within our homes, as the Norway Rats have become immune to many of the poisons that were used to control them.

Norway Rats carry a number of diseases that they can spread to both humans and pets. Theseinclude Weil’s disease, Leptospirosis and Hantavirus.

Norway Rats are known to have caused the worldwide spread of Bubonic Plague between 1348–1420 through their role as hosts for fleas carrying Yersinia pestis bacteria.

It is extremely rare for humans to become infected with plague nowadays but it can still pose a problem in some developing countries. This is because cases of plague are not determined by the number of bites, but by the exposure to an infectious dose of Yersinia pestis from a rat bite or from contact with an infected rodent or flea.

Rats Nowadays 

What is the large, brown rat looking thing in my backyard?

In modern times Norway Rats have been used as model organisms for scientific research.In particular the Rattus norvegicus genome has been sequenced and is publicly available on a community database. In addition, unpublished sequence information from Norway Rats is available through public databases such as Rat Genome Database(RGD).

The internet is full of various images purporting to be the large rat found in people’s backyards. Many of these are clearly not Norway Rats, for example the image at the top of this page. Some are positively identified as Norway Rats but many are different species altogether.

The best way to reliably identify a rat is by comparing your animal to photographs of known rats. There are various internet sites that show pictures of rats. Two good places to look areImages of Norway Rats – Reddit or Photos of Common Rats.

Large, brown rat in backyard

It is very difficult to identify an individual rat accurately without using formal identification methods such as DNA analysis, but there are ways that you can take a statistical approach to identifying your rat.

Norway rats are extremely numerous in the UK and worldwide. There are millions of them all over the country, so if you have seen one then there are probably many more around.

If your rat is a Norway Rat then it was almost certainly born in the wild. It Would be very unusual for an owner to release their pet rat into the wild. So chances are that if you have found a Norway Rat on or near your property,there are many more within the same area.

If you see your rat outside then it is probably a wild rat, if it is inside your home or business it is more likely to be a brown rat.The vast majority of Norway rats found living in homes are wild animals that have become accustomed to humans and their food waste.

You can tell which it is by looking at their ears – wild rats have large, mostly hairless ears whereas brown rats will have much smaller simple hairs.

Norway rat vs Roof rat Admittedly, this is not the easiest way to tell if you are dealing with a Norway rat or a Roof Rat. However, there are subtle differences between the two species that are helpful in telling them apart.

First, Norway rats have smaller ears than roof rats.

Second, roof rats have hairless soles on their feet while Norway rats have hairy feet.

Third, roof rat eye sockets are smaller than those of Norway Rats.

Finally, roof rat fur is silvery gray to black on top.

If you have a pest problem in your home or business, contact Bon Accord today for free advice and immediate assistance from a local pest control expert. We are here to help!

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