Both of the most common types of rats, the black rat and the brown rat, are omnivores, eating fruits, grains and any waste or unprotected human foods they encounter, along with invertebrate prey when necessary or available. Brown rats are more carnivorous than black rats, will eat more types of meat and have even been observed fishing. These animals are ubiquitous and are major pests in destroying livestock feed.Know More
Black and brown rats are both found on every continent on Earth, and travel readily in large ships. They do not occur in the same places often, however, because brown rats will kill off any black rat population they encounter. In general, black rats are more suited to tropical regions, while brown rats dominate in temperate and colder regions. Black rats are also less flexible in their diets than brown rats, and are more reliant on sources of seeds and other plant foods.
Both black and brown rats are significant vectors for many diseases, most commonly transmitted via the fleas and other parasites they carry. Both species commonly form packs, and in black rats, this includes a social hierarchy that determines access to mating opportunities. Large packs of brown rats have been known to attack larger animals, even human infants.Learn more in Rodents
Rats eat nearly everything, including mice. The act of rats killing and eating mice is called muricide. This is a stereotyped behavior among rats. Muricide occurs due to hunger and environmental conditions, but mouse-killing is also affected by neurotransmitter signals in a rat's brain.Full Answer >
Rats often squeak as a way to vocalize protest or to show stress. This is why rats often squeak when they are being petted or groomed by another rat. Small squeaks signal mild protest. Longer squeaks indicate distress, but such squeaks are usually only heard when a rat is confronted by another rat.Full Answer >
According to PETA, rats are highly intelligent animals that excel at learning new skills and concepts. Rats have the ability to be trained and learn a variety of tricks, just like dogs. The Rat Assistance and Teaching Society states that some rats are even more intelligent than dogs are. Rats are also smart enough to recognize their name and come when called.Full Answer >
The two most common rat species live in close association with people. Black rats prefer roofs, attics and other high places, while Norway rats are more likely to dwell on the ground. Both species often live on ships, which is how they came to have a global distribution.Full Answer >