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Brown Rat

Overview

The brown rat (Rattus norvegicus), formerly the Norway Rat, can live in most habitats. It is originally native to Asia’s forests and brushy areas.

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(Photo courtesy of Jim McCormac)

Description

The brown rat is a large member of the mouse family that can be distinguished by its grayish-brown color and long, scaly tail.

Reproduction

These rats are social animals and tend to breed in large groups, where communal care makes this species somewhat of a cooperative breeder. Female Norway rats have been known to produce up to 12 litters per year consisting of 8-10 young. Breeding occurs year-round and gestation lasts 21-22 days.

Habitat & Behavior

Rats occupy any place where food and shelter can be found including woodlands, open fields, garbage dumps, sewers, and basements. They are omnivorous and will eat anything edible that they find.