Mature male and female rats weigh anywhere from 12 to 23 ounces. They are 10 to 11 inches long, excluding the tail. Male rats are comparatively larger and bulkier than female rats. Some rats lack a tail and others are entirely furless.
TYPES OF RATS
There are 69 known species of rats, classified as follows:
Commonly known as sewer rats or wharf rats, Norway rats have a brown upper body, small ears, and hairless tails. Unlike other species of rats, they are not known for their acrobatic ability and found in underground basements and open fields.
Swimming, however, is their forte. They have an exceptional ability to navigate and live in sewers. They feed on cereals, seeds, meat, fish, and nuts.
Black rats, as the name suggests, have a jet-black appearance with light greyish underbellies. They are covered in fur and have a long naked tail. Unlike Norway rats, they aren’t fond of swimming.
They occupy high grounds, such as attics, rooftops, and trees, owing to their ability to climb. Their daily diet consists of grains, snails, trash, and ripe fruits.
- Rat Species Named After Their Habitats
Rice-field rats, Australian pale field rats, Cape York rats, dusky rats, Himalayan Field rats, Polynesian rats, and a variety of other species are named after their preferred habitat.
- Rat Species Named After their Appearance
Spiny rectum rats, soft-furred rats, thick-haired rats, sunburned rats, and yellow tailed rats are characterized by their appearance.
In large rat populations, hierarchical roles are assigned. Rats that are strong and bulky are given power over weaker and less dominant rats. Females are not protected by males. As soon as the female is ready for mating, males mate with it sequentially, in order of their social rank.
Rats are empathetic and form heartfelt friendships. When one of their friends dies, they are extremely saddened, and sometimes refuse to eat for days. Moreover, they remember if fellow rats have been nice to them, and go as far as reciprocating their kindness ― the only animals to do so.
Rats also have a dark side. They are ferocious animals when threatened. They don’t hesitate to defend themselves by any means necessary. They claw, bite, and even attack unfamiliar rats that compete with them for food or shelter.
Rats easily thrive in cities, and rural areas, and are very much capable of migrating from one city to another. It’s quite easy for them to navigate through tricky terrains paved with hurdles. This particular behavior makes them hard to trap or get rid of.
LIFE CYCLE AND REPRODUCTION
In a single reproductive cycle, a female rat can give birth to up to 14 offspring. The duration of the gestation period of female rats is 1 to 2 weeks, which allows them to undergo as many as five reproductive cycles in a single year.
Rats physically mature in the third week and start finding food for themselves soon after. Sexual maturity is attained in five weeks, after which they begin mating to propagate their species.
The lifespan of a rat is from 1 to 3 years. However, due to occupational hazards and habitat dangers, most rats don’t survive for longer than one year.