Rattus norvegicus - (Berkenhout, 1769)
Brown Rat
Other English Common Names: Norway Rat
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Rattus norvegicus (Berkenhout, 1769) (TSN 180363)
French Common Names: rat brun, rat surmulot
Spanish Common Names: Rata Noruega
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.105915
Element Code: AMAFF21020
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Rodents
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Rodentia Muridae Rattus
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/.
Concept Reference Code: B93WIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Rattus norvegicus
Taxonomic Comments: See Musser and Carleton (in Wilson and Reeder 2005) for a good review and discussion of Rattus taxonomy and phylogeny.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 04Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 15Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA (05Sep1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (01Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (SNA), Alaska (SNA), Arizona (SNA), Arkansas (SNA), California (SNA), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (SNA), Florida (SNA), Georgia (SNA), Idaho (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Iowa (SNA), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Louisiana (SNA), Maine (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNA), Michigan (SNA), Minnesota (SNA), Mississippi (SNA), Missouri (SNA), Montana (SNA), Nebraska (SNA), Nevada (SNA), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New Mexico (SNA), New York (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), North Dakota (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Oklahoma (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), South Carolina (SNA), South Dakota (SNA), Tennessee (SNA), Texas (SNA), Utah (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (SNA), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada Alberta (SNA), British Columbia (SNA), Labrador (SNA), Manitoba (SNA), New Brunswick (SNA), Newfoundland Island (SNA), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (SNA), Saskatchewan (SNA)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Assumed native in eastern Asia; introduced worldwide but most common in colder climates of high latitudes; in warmer regions, restricted to habitats highly modified by humans (Musser and carleton, in Wilson and Reeder 2005).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Assumed native in eastern Asia; introduced worldwide but most common in colder climates of high latitudes; in warmer regions, restricted to habitats highly modified by humans (Musser and carleton, in Wilson and Reeder 2005).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AKexotic, ALexotic, ARexotic, AZexotic, CAexotic, COexotic, CTexotic, DCexotic, DEexotic, FLexotic, GAexotic, IAexotic, IDexotic, ILexotic, INexotic, KSexotic, KYexotic, LAexotic, MAexotic, MDexotic, MEexotic, MIexotic, MNexotic, MOexotic, MSexotic, MTexotic, NCexotic, NDexotic, NEexotic, NHexotic, NJexotic, NMexotic, NVexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, OKexotic, ORexotic, PAexotic, RIexotic, SCexotic, SDexotic, TNexotic, TXexotic, UTexotic, VAexotic, VTexotic, WAexotic, WIexotic, WVexotic, WYexotic
Canada ABexotic, BCexotic, LBexotic, MBexotic, NBexotic, NFexotic, NSexotic, ONexotic, PEexotic, QCexotic, SKexotic

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2005


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
ID Benewah (16009)*, Kootenai (16055)*, Nez Perce (16069)*, Shoshone (16079)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
17 South Fork Coeur D'alene (17010302)+*, Coeur D'alene Lake (17010303)+*, St. Joe (17010304)+*, Clearwater (17060306)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Help
Reproduction Comments: Breeds throughout the year, particularly from spring to fall. Gestation lasts 21-24 days or up to a week longer in lactating females. Litter size is 2-14 (average about 9). Averages 6 litters per year (range 3-12). Sexually mature in 80-85 days.
Ecology Comments: Home range is usually less than an acre. Can become locally abundant. Lives in highly organized colonies. Throughout range in different habitats, median survival time relatively consistent at about 3 months, annual survival rate at about 5%.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Estuarine Habitat(s): Herbaceous wetland
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow, Grassland/herbaceous, Savanna, Suburban/orchard, Urban/edificarian, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil
Habitat Comments: Buildings and other structures in cities, villages, and farm country, also dumps and open areas near abundant food. Most common in colder climates of high latitudes; in warmer regions restricted to habitats highly modified by humans (Musser and Carleton, in Wilson and Reeder 1993). In Hawaii: locally common in some lowland cane fields, rare or absent in extensive grassland and most native forests (Tomich 1986). In Oklahoma, moved from fields to buildings in fall (Caire et al. 1989). Young are born in nests in buildings, under debris, or underground.
Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Frugivore, Granivore, Herbivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Frugivore, Granivore, Herbivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Very opportunistic feeder; diet of vegetable and animal matter, garbage, and carrion.
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Phenology Comments: Mostly nocturnal.
Length: 46 centimeters
Weight: 485 grams
Economic Attributes
Help
Economic Comments: Often a severe pest; eats stored grain and small farm animals, public health menace, etc.
Management Summary
Help
Species Impacts: Implicated as a contributor in the decline of the ancient murrelet and other burrow-nesting seabirds (see Bertram and Nagorsen 1995).

In New York, Draud et al. (2004) documented a high rate of predation on hatchling and juvenile diamondback terrapins by Norway rats.

Population/Occurrence Delineation
Help
Group Name: Small Murid Rodents

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals in appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Mapping Guidance: Separate sites separated by less than 1000 meters should be mapped as separate polygons.
Separation Barriers: Barriers include: wide highways with heavy traffic (subjective determination) and highways with continuous solid barriers that prevent rodent passage; major water bodies, arbitrarily set at those greater than 50 meters across in ice-free areas and those greater than 200 meters wide if frozen regularly.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Home ranges may be quite small, but at least some species exhibit good dispersal ability that may take them several kilometers from their natal area (Maier 2002). Peromyscus that have been displaced up to 3 km may return home within a few days (see Maier 2002). Displaced Neotoma fuscipes dispersed up to at least 1.6 km from their release point in five nights (Smith 1965). A male Dicrostonyx richardsoni moved more than 3 kilometers per day several times (Engstrom, in Wilson and Ruff 1999). Some species can traverse significant distances of unsuitable habitat. For example, Peromyscus leucopus may move between wooded areas separated by a deforested agricultural gap of up to at least 2 km (Krohne and Hoch 1999). In New Brunswick, a tagged subadult male Peromyscus maniculatus was captured at locations 1.77 km apart after a period of 2 weeks in September, suggesting that dispersal may extend at least this far (Bowman et al. 1999). In Kansas, individual Peromyscus maniculatus were captured at trap sites up to 1.32 km apart (Rehmeier et al. 2004). Dispersal can play a key role in the population dynamics of murid rodents.

Patterns of genetic (DNA) variation indicate that gene flow can be low among subpopulations of Neotoma magister and that effective dispersal is limited among subpopulations separated by as little as 3 km (Castleberry et al. 2002).

Separation distance for suitable habitat is a compromise between the typical small home range sizes of these mammals and their sometimes considerable dispersal ability and the likely low probability that two occupied locations separated by less than several kilometers of suitable habitat would represent independent populations.

Roads, especially divided highways, are major barriers to dispersal in small mammals (Oxley et al. 1974, Wilkins 1982, Garland and Bradley 1984).

Date: 08Mar2005
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings
Notes: Group contains most members of the family Muridae: mice, voles, lemmings, woodrats, etc.
Population/Occurrence Viability
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Help
Authors/Contributors
Help
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 14Feb2006
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 14Apr1993
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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