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Different Kinds of Rats

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Rats. The fascinating rodents belong to the genus Rattus. The ones you're probably familiar with are the Norway rat and the black rat. Found all over the world, they are the most common of 69 species. They're intelligent and curious creatures; captive-bred ones make good pets. Wild rats, meanwhile, carry fleas and lice. They can spoil food with their urine and feces, and they can chew through wood, cinder blocks and wire with their strong teeth.

Norway Rats

Norway rats are also known as brown rats, sewer rats or wharf rats, among other names that vary from locale to locale. They have brown upper bodies, grayish underbellies, small ears and hairless tails. Norway rats are not good climbers; this is why they are found in basements and ground floors of buildings, and in fields and woodpiles. They are strong swimmers, so they thrive in city sewers. They eat cereal grains, seeds, meat, fish and nuts. Wild Norway rats will not hesitate to gnaw on animals and humans.

Black Rats

Black rats are also called roof rats, house rats or ship rats. They are black with light colored underbellies. They have large ears and long naked tails. Black rats don't like to swim and don't inhabit sewers. They are superb climbers, living high off the ground. Black rats reside in attics, on roofs and high in trees. They eat fruits and berries, grains, pet foods, snails, slugs and rotten garbage.

New Guinea Rats and Forest Rats

Arianus' New Guinea mountain rats, eastern New Guinea mountain rats, eastern New Guinea rats, large New Guinea spiny rats, New Guinean rats, Pocock's New Guinea Highland rats, Richardson's New Guinea rats, Stein's New Guinea rats and western New Guinea mountain rats are indigenous to New Guinea. Indochinese rats, New Ireland forest rats, Philippine forest rats, Sahyadris forest rats and Tawitawi forest rats are named for the forests they live in.

Rats Named for Their Habitat or Appearance

Australian swamp rats, rice-field rats, Australian pale field rats, bush rats, canefield rats, Cape York rats, Christmas Island rats, dusky rats, Himalayan field rats, Himalayan rats, Malaysian field rats, Mindoro mountain rats, Osgood's Vietnamese rats, Polynesian rats, southeastern Xanthurus rats and Vogelkop mountain rats are named for the specific areas they inhabit. Little soft furred rats, long-haired rats, slender rats, spiny cerum rats, sunburned rats and yellow-tailed rats are species named for their appearance.

Other Rat Species

Aceh rats, andaman archipelago rats, Annandale's rats, bonthain rats, enggano rats, giluwe rats, Hainald's rats, Halmahara rats, Hoffman's rats, hole rats, Hoogerwerf's rats, japen rats, kerala rats, kinabula rats, Koopman's rats, Korinch's rats, losea rats, Maclear's rats, mentawai rats, nillu rats, nonsense rats, opossum rats, palm rats, peleng rats, sikkim rats, simalur rats, sula rats, tanezumi rats, timor rats, Turkestan rats and Van Deusan's rats complete the 69 known species of true rats.