Key Features of Rats
The most common and successful species of rat found in Britain is the brown rat. The black rat is also found in Britain, however it is now one of the rarest mammals in Britain. Black rats mainly persist around port towns, whilst due to their opportunist nature, brown rats are found all over Britain from farms to towns.
Rats are distinguished from mice by their size; rats generally have bodies longer than 12 cm (5 inches).
By most standards, rats are considered pests or vermin. They can be very destructive to crops and property. Rats can quickly overpopulate when they live in a place where they have no predators, such as in certain cities, and their numbers can become hard to contain.
Rats have a significant impact on food production. Estimates vary, but it is likely that about one fifth of the world’s total food output is eaten, spoiled or destroyed by rats. It is interesting to note that about one third of the food purchased by humans is thrown away as rubbish in certain areas.
Rats can carry over thirty different diseases dangerous to humans, including Weil’s disease, typhus, salmonella and bubonic plague.