Brown rats are the scourge of many a farm and town. They are one of the most serious mammalian pests on the planet, spoiling grain and carrying disease, yet they remain one of the most successful. The secret of the brown rat's success lies in its opportunistic way of life and extraordinary ability to reproduce, with a pair multiplying to 200 in just one year. They are also expert jumpers, climbers and swimmers to boot. Living in dark damp sewers and rubbish dumps does nothing for their reputation. Originating from Asia, brown rats rapidly colonised Europe in the early 18th century.
Why are we being overrun by rats?
Scientific name: Rattus norvegicus
The following habitats are found across the Brown rat distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Population trend: Stable
Year assessed: 2008
Classified by: IUCN 3.1
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From badgers to butterflies and frogs to foxes, garden wildlife is both varied and surprising.