Black Rat

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Black Rat
Image:Blackrat.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Rodentia
Family:Muridae
Subfamily:Murinae
Genus:Rattus
Species:R. rattus
Binomial name
Rattus rattus
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The Black Rat (Rattus rattus, also known as the Asian Black Rat, Ship Rat, Roof Rat or House Rat) is a common long-tailed rodent of the genus Rattus (Old World rodents) and the subfamily murinae (Murine rodents). The species originated in tropical Asia and spread through the Near East in Roman times before reaching Europe in the 8th Century and spreading with Europeans across the world. Today it is again largely confined to warmer areas, having been supplanted by the Brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) in cooler regions.

Despite its name it comes in several colour forms. Compared to the Brown Rat, it is a poorer swimmer, but a better climber. It is usually black to light brown in colour with a lighter underside. A typical rat will be 20 cm long with a further 20 cm of tail. It is agile and climbs well, tending even to flee upwards. It is nocturnal and omnivorous, with a preference for grains. In a suitable environment it will breed throughout the year, with a female producing three to six litters of up to twenty young. Females may regulate their production of offspring during times when food is scarce, throwing as few as only one litter a year. Rattus lives for about 2-3 years. Social groups of up to sixty can be formed.

Rattus has been known to fall victim of a number of diseases, of which bubonic plague, typhus, and trichinosis are the most well known.

References

Integrated Taxonomic Information System (http://www.itis.usda.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=180362)da:Sort rottede:Hausrattenl:zwarte ratfi:Mustarottasv:Svartråtta
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