Monday, June 22, 2015

Brown rat

Rat in a Flowerbox by David Shankbone Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
I wasn't fast enough to get my own picture but at the weekend I saw a brown rat, Rattus norvegicus, hopping about outside the kitchen. Once it caught sight of me it hopped back into the bushes and was gone. 
There are many myths about rats but it is true to say that after humans they are the most widespread mammals on earth. In part they owe this success to their co-dependence on humans. 
Amazingly they have a 95% 1 year mortality, but they make up for this by being able to reproduce when only five weeks old. They can have up to five litters of seven to fourteen per year! Also they are misnamed, not coming from Norway as John Berkenhout thought.
Rattus Norvegicus is of course better known by many as being the title of a great album by The Stranglers. I'd rather have the album in my house than the rat in my garden.
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