T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Rat (Ship) Rattus rattus .

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Muridae
Subfamily: Murinae
Genus: Rattus
Species: R. rattus
Binomial name: Rattus rattus
Common name: Ships rat, Common rat, Roof rat, Black rat, house rat

Rattus rattus is the most commonly found rat in New Zealand and was introduced accidentally in 1830-1850. It is the smaller of the two European rat species. Rattus rattus are widespread around New Zealand on the three main islands and on many offshore islands. They have a wide range of habitats, they are found in urban areas, on farmlands and in all native forests. On the offshore islands rats eat the same food as birds, so when there are lots of rats around there is less food for birds to eat. They also attack native birds, their chicks, eggs and other wildlife such as wetas and lizards. They have a wide range of habitats, urban areas, farmlands and all native forests. They are great climbers and they nest in trees, roofs as well in an underground in borrows.

A typical adult Rattus rattus is >18 cm long, not including a 15 to 22 cm tail and can weighs >230 g. The tail is longer than the body. They are usually black to light brown in colour with a lighter underside. This species is slightly smaller than Rattus norvegicus.
A characteristic of this species is that the ears will cover the eyes when they are pressed forward.
Rattus rattus are highly fertile – one pair can produce a population of 3,000 in a year.

Rats serve as outstanding vectors for the transmittance of diseases because they can carry bacteria and viruses in their systems. A number of bacterial diseases are common to rats, and these include Streptococcus pneumoniae, Corynebacterium kutsheri, Bacillus piliformis, Pasteurella pneumotropica, and Streptobacillus moniliformis, to name a few. All of these bacteria are disease-causing agents in humans. In some cases, these diseases are incurable.


Distribution map of the Ship's rat (Pink area)

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/