The black rat is slimmer than the brown rat and are often found nesting in ceilings and lofts. Black rats are excellent climbers and can cli...
Latin Name: Rattus rattus
Months of Activity: January - December
The black rat is nocturnal and omnivorous, with a preference for grains and fruit. Compared to the brown rat, it is a poor swimmer, but more agile and a better climber, tending even to flee upwards.
In a suitable environment it will breed throughout the year, with a female producing three to six litters of up to ten young.
A typical adult black rat is 32-45cm long, including a 17-25cm tail, and weighs 110-340g. Despite its name, the black rat exhibits several colour forms. It is usually black to light brown in colour with a lighter underside.
Black rats nest both indoors and out, prefering high places such as trees and lofts, but sometimes in burrows under plants, in basements, sewers and under buildings.
The average life cycle of a black rat is 12-18 months, during which time, the female will typically breed up to six times, with the average litter being seven or eight. The gestation period takes between 20-22 days, and pups are weaned after 21-28 days. A black rat reaches sexual maturity after 3-4 months.
Breeding occurs throughout the year, but especially in the spring or autumn.
Preventing an infestation black rats can be achieved by rodent-proofing your home. If you already have an infestation, you should concentrate pest control where most droppings are found. Place traps and bait stations along runways, against vertical surfaces and wire glue boards to rafters and pipes.
Rats are cautious. Pre-baiting with non-toxic bait may be needed. They are also gluttonous, so use sufficient bait for 1, 2 or more meals. If you use any baits or other pesticide, be sure they are registered for this species, read the entire label first and strictly adhere to all directions, restrictions and precautions.
Bait Station Placement
Where a bait station, or more likely a group of stations, is located has a lot to do with a successful rodent control effort. As a pest management professional, you need to know where the rats or mice are nesting, travelling and feeding. Bait statio... [more]
The Scourge Of Our Streets
Some Hindus worship them, Michael Jackson serenaded one of them, James Cagney thought them "dirty" and one saved TV AM in the 80s - rats are very much part of our culture. And there's one thing that's indisputable - their population is increasing. T... [more]
Plague Of Rats
Rat-catchers and companies selling poison and traps are reporting a boom in business, with urban housing estates among the worst affected areas. Long-term growth in rodent populations is also blamed on a decline in "sewer-baiting", the practice of la... [more]
Banner Year For Rats
The scratching starts at 4 am. "And I know exactly what the bloody things are," says the frustrated homeowner, who doesn't want to boast about his problem. He's got rats. Furry-bodied, bare-tailed rodents are running through his loft space, gnawing t... [more]
Plague of the Bin Pests
If you live in the city, they say you are never more than a few feet from a rat. Now it seems mice, grey squirrels and foxes are creeping a little too close for comfort as well. In fact the number of pests plaguing homeowners has gone up by more than... [more]