Animals / Mammal Facts / Rodents - Most Populous Group of Mammals / Black Rat - Cruise Ship Traveler

Black Rat - Cruise Ship Traveler

house ship happy


The black house rat now exists worldwide but is originally from Asia. The rat goes anywhere man goes. It is also known as the ship rat because it enjoys intercontinental ocean liners like world travelers. Invading Europe since the Roman times the clever rodents entered many ships with the cargo or by climbing the ropes or chains holding the ship in the dock. And from there, anywhere a ship might take them they will be happy to make happy homes and reproduce.



ship rat climbing


The black rat has effected mankind by helping spread terrible infirmities that have changed the course of human history perhaps more than any human individual or war on the earth. It has been said that the black house rat has carried diseases such as bubonic plague, typhus, rabies and trichinosis. But it isn't the rat's fault really, they are just going about their business of surviving in a successful manner. The rat is so successful because of its extremely wide-ranging diet and it ability to reproduce rapidly. Litters of up to 10 little rats can be born every 6 weeks all year long.


rattus rattus litter


The black rat can grow to be larger than 10 inches (26 cm) with a tail larger than 9 inches (24 cm). It is a good climber and comes out at night so that it can sneak around and look for sacks of rice and corn while you are sleeping. When grains are not available it will eat just about anything, also storing hoards in times of abundance. Although cats and other larger mammals like coyotes and foxes prey on the rat, they really have no chance of controlling the population numbers. The black rat only lives for 2 to 3 years.


rattus rattus ship rat





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