Britain is home to two types of rats:
- The adult common rat may weigh from 100-500 grammes and has brown fur on its back and grey underneath, its tail is shorter than its head and body.
- The ship rat, which is far less common, is smaller and more lightly built, its fur can be brown or black and it weighs between 100-300 grammes. Its tail is longer than the head and body, giving it greater agility.
The common rat is the most abundant and widespread of the species and can be found anywhere that offers shelter or food, including sewers and drains. They are excellent burrowers and favour compost heaps, ground under hedgerows and sheds. In domestic properties they will live in wall cavities and beneath floor boards. Ship rats are mainly restricted to port areas where they live indoors.
Both species are active mainly at night but may be seen during daylight hours if in search of food or water.
Professional help should be sought when dealing with a rat infestation. The speed at which they breed and form new colonies make rats extremely difficult to control without expert knowledge.
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