Ship Rat

Ship Rat

Rattus rattus

Identification:

Body length 190 mm; tail length 230 mm; weight 280 g. Sleek-looking; may be any colour from black to white, but generally steel-grey with a white belly; tail much longer than head and body. When pulled forward, ear extends past middle of the eye.

Habitat and Range:

Occurs anywhere around human habitation — in ceilings, verandahs, dumps, gardens, shops, warehouses, fowl houses and degraded habitats. Most common rat. In coastal areas around most of Australia. Immigrant from South-east Asia but now occurs throughout the Americas, NZ, France, PNG, Pacific and Indian Ocean islands and the West Indies.

Notes:

Nocturnal. Accomplished climber, rarely seen on ground. Surprisingly gentle disposition. Similar to Sewer Rat.

Threats:

Thrives on all forms.

Traces:

High-pitched calls, sitt-sitt, or more raucous ehh-ehh-ehh. Night-time grinding on woodwork, loud pitter-patter over ceilings. Hollowed-out macadamia nuts, emptied pawpaws, scalped seedlings, empty snail shells assembled in caches. Droppings are blunt pellets (10 mm long by 3 mm wide).

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