Black Rat (Rattus rattus)
It is a medium sized (head-body length 7 to 11cm) rodent (animal with a pair of incisor teeth in continuous growth), smaller than the brown rat. It has a grey coat, almost black, a bit lighter on the belly. The head is small with a pointed snout and large ears (bigger than the brown rat's ones). The tail is long (9 to 24 cm), bigger than the body-length, and covered by scaly rings. There is no differences between sexes, although males are slightly bigger than females.
Where does it live?
This species is native to Southeast Asia; it colonized Europe in the 8th century and arrived in America in ships, expanding all over the world. It is a human's banqueter but it occupies more rural and less humanized means than the brown rat. This other species displaced it from the cities and expelled it to the countryside or the high areas of the urban environment. It does not dig underground tunnels. It uses tree holes, abandoned birds nests, hollows in buildings and roofs, or makes nests within the scrub in wet lands (brambles or cane fields). It can climb very well but it avoids swimming.
How does it live?
It is an omnivore animal. It feeds on fruit and seeds, although it also benefits from waste and rubbish. It catches small insects and molluscs. It is a very sociable animal, organised in groups controlled by a dominant male. They are less territorial and aggressive than the brown rats. They have night habits.
How does it reproduce?
Rats mate all year round. They are very premature. They are sexually active at the age of 5 or 6 weeks Each female can have from 3 to 5 litters per year. From 5 to 16 offspring are born in each litter. They live a bit longer than brown rats, being able to rise to 18 months longevity.
Where can we see in Málaga?
This species is present in the whole Málaga province. It is a common and abundant species, but less than the brown rat. We can find it on almost every stage of the Great Path (Gran Senda).
The black rat is famous for being the carrier of Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that transmits the bubonic plague or black plague. Actually, it is not the rats that carry the bacteria, but fleas that use the rat as a host. The plague is not transmitted by the rat's bite. In the 14th century, the plague caused more than twenty thousand deaths. It is currently considered eradicated, partly because the bacterium that transmits it has changed to another less virulent form, and not because there are fewer rats. In fact, rats are very important in the ecosystem, especially after the rabbit retreats, since they have become a key prey for the survival of many threatened predators.
It can be confused with the brown rat. This rat is bigger, with a stronger body, a shorter tail, larger ears and a blunt snout. The brown rat occupies more urban habitats than the black rat, living mostly at ground level.
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