Months of Activity: September - April
The brown rat, or Norway rat, is one of the best known and most common rat. It is primarily nocturnal, although some individuals can be spotted during the day in highly populated areas.
Their diet is extremely broad, and they will almost anything that is edible, with a food preference for grain. They eat more meat than the black rat, and if they get the opportunity, they will eat carrion and will prey on other animals.
Although brown rats do not carry bubonic plague they can carry a range of serious diseases transmittable to people, such as Weil's Disease, salmonella food poisoning and toxoplasmosis. They can infest and ruin foodstuffs and cause serious structural damage to buildings, pipework and wiring systems - even causing fires - by their constant gnawing.
One of the largest rodents, the brown rat is a brown or grey rodent with a body up to 25cm long, and a similar tail length; the male weighs on average 350g and the female 250g.
The brown rat can breed throughout the year if conditions are suitable, with a female producing up to five litters a year. The gestation period is only 21 days and litters can number up to fourteen, although seven is common.
The maximum life span is up to three years, although most barely manage one. A yearly mortality rate of 95% is estimated, with predators and interspecies conflicts as major causes.
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