Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus)
It is a medium sized (head-body length 17 to 27 cm) rodent (animal with a pair of incisor teeth in continuous growth), bigger than the black rat. It has a dark grey coat, a bit lighter on the belly. It has a large head, a blunt snout and small ears (smaller than in the black rat). The tail is long (15 to 23 cm), without exceeding the body-length, and covered by scales. There is no differences between both sexes.
Where does it live?
It is an exotic species, native from China and the rest of Asia, which has been expanding and colonizing almost all the planet since the 16th and 17th centuries. It successfully competes with the native or black rat (Rattus rattus), expelling it from many places. Its typical habitats are villages, towns and urbanized environments in general. It often occupies the lower parts of the city, at ground level (cellars, sewers, drains, corrals, weedy areas ...) since it can not climb. The other rat occupies lofts, roofs and niches at higher altitudes, since they can climb very well. It requires the presence of water, since it ingests daily up to 38 ml. That is why it is also very linked to wet areas (culverts, edges of banks with dense vegetation).
How does it live?
It is an omnivore animal. It mainly eats everything, but it focuses on harnessing waste and rubbish. It is a very opportunistic species and a banqueter of human. It digs tunnels with different habitats on embankments and areas with a certain slope having a vegetation cover. Tunnels can be very long. It is a gregarious species, very territorial and even aggressive with specimens that are not from its colony; with a very organized and hierarchical social structure. The colony is lead by an adult male and two subordinate females. The colony members are very disciplined and submit to the dominant male, although there are usually internal fights to take the power and control over the colony. They distrust unusual food. In those cases, the dominant male sends a taster to taste the food. If it dies, the colony will always distrust this kind of food. This strategy helps them to successfully overcome the deratization campaigns with poisons. They are dusk and night animals, but they can also be seen during the day. They can swim very well.
How does it reproduce?
Rats mate all year round. They are sexually active at the age of two months, each female being able to get from 5 to 8 litters per year. From 2 to 16 offspring are born in each litter. The colony breeds almost every six weeks. The offspring are born into the rooms or nest located at the bottom of the tunnels; they are naked, blind and without a sense of hearing. They develop within less than three weeks. The medium lifetime of a rat lasts less than a year, with a very high death rate of its population (90-95%). It is considered that the colony is renewed every year.
Where can we see it in Málaga?
This species is present in the whole province, being scarcer in high mountain areas (more than 1000 meters above sea level). It is a very abundant and common species. We can find it on almost every stage of the Great Path (Gran Senda).
The brown, grey or sewer rat is also named the Norwegian rat. This surname refers to its specific name in Latin, which incidentally coincides with that of the Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus). This misnomer was granted by John Berkenhout in 1769. This English physicist and naturalist named the Norwegian rat in the belief that they had arrived in England on ships from Norway, which had crossed the English Channel loaded with wood. The Latin name has remained, but today it is known that actually it should be called the Chinese rat because of its true origin. The Norway lobster was described from specimens caught in the Norwegian Sea. Linneo gives it its correct Latin name.
It can be confused with the back or country rat. This rat is smaller, with a less strong are more stylised body, a longer tail, smaller sized ears and a more pointed snout. Moreover, the black rat occupies more rural habitats than the brown rat. In the city, it is only present in high areas, as it can climb very well and since at ground level, the brown rat expels it very aggressively.
Routes where it can be observed
- GR 249. Stage 09. Periana - Alfarnatejo (Pulgarín Alto)
- GR 249. Stage 01. Málaga - Rincón de la Victoria
- GR 249. Stage 02. Rincón de la Victoria - Vélez-Málaga
- GR 249. Stage 03. Vélez-Málaga - Torrox
- GR 249. Stage 04. Torrox - Nerja
- GR 249. Stage 05. Nerja - Frigiliana
- GR 249. Stage 06. Frigiliana - Cómpeta
- GR 249. Stage 07. Cómpeta - Canillas de Aceituno
- GR 249. Stage 08. Canillas de Aceituno - Periana
- GR 249. Stage 10. Alfarnatejo (Pulgarín Alto) - Alfarnate
- GR 249. Stage 11. Alfarnate - Villanueva del Rosario
- GR 249. Stage 12. Villanueva del Rosario - Archidona
- GR 249. Stage 13. Archidona - Villanueva de Tapia
- GR 249. Stage 14. Villanueva de Tapia - Villanueva de Algaidas
- GR 249. Stage 15. Villanueva de Algaidas - Cuevas Bajas
- GR 249. Stage 16. Cuevas Bajas - Alameda
- GR 249. Stage 17. Alameda - Fuente de Piedra
- GR 249. Stage 18. Fuente de Piedra - Campillos
- GR 249. Stage 19. Campillos - Embalses del Guadalhorce
- GR 249. Stage 20. Embalses del Guadalhorce - Estación de El Chorro (Álora)
- GR 249. Stage 21. Estación de El Chorro (Álora) - Carratraca - Ardales
- GR 249. Stage 22. Ardales - El Burgo
- GR 249. Stage 23. El Burgo - Ronda
- GR 249. Stage 24. Ronda - Estación de Benaoján
- GR 249. Stage 25. Estación de Benaoján - Jimera de Líbar
- GR 249. Stage 26. Jimera de Líbar - Benalauría
- GR 249. Stage 27. Benalauría - Genalguacil
- GR 249. Stage 28. Genalguacil - Casares
- GR 249. Stage 29. Casares - Estepona
- GR 249. Stage 30. Estepona - Marbella
- GR 249. Stage 31. Marbella - Ojén
- GR 249. Stage 32. Ojén - Mijas
- GR 249. Stage 33. Mijas - Benalmádena
- GR 249. Stage 34. Benalmádena - Alhaurín de la Torre
- GR 249. Stage 35. Alhaurín de la Torre - Málaga
- GR 249.1. Stage Mollina - Humilladero - Fuente de Piedra
- GR 249.2. Stage Puerto de los Pescadores - Alhaurín el Grande - Alhaurín de la Torre
- GR 249.3 Section 2. Stage Cuevas de San Marcos - Cuevas Bajas
- GR 249.3. Section 1. Stage Villanueva de Tapia - Cuevas de San Marcos
- GR 249.4. Section 2. Antequera - Valle de Abdalajís
- GR 249.4. Section 3. Valle de Abdalajís - El Chorro (Álora)
- GR 249.4. Section 1. VIllanueva del Rosario - Antequera
- GR 249.5. Section 1. Campillos - Teba
- GR 249.5. Section 2. Teba - Cañete la Real
- GR 249.5. Section 3. Cañete la Real - Arriate
- GR 249.5. Section 4. Arriate - Ronda