We should not be confused between the brown rats which can be seen in the wild and in the streets which are obviously dirty to the brown rats which are kept in homes as pets or laboratories as test animals. These brown rats are of the same species and breed, the only difference between the two is that the latter ones are fed by humans while the first ones depend on humans for the food that they forage. Still, the bottom line is, in whichever setup, brown rats need humans for survival. Some of us may hate brown rats for being so, but we should all not forget that the brown rats saved Europe from the Bubonic Plague spread by the black rats decades ago; because of their amazing survival skills, they have managed to outnumber the black rats and eventually pushed them out from Europe. Between the two rat species, brown rats are more preferable without any contest. These rats may be very much dependent to humans, but they are never inclined to bite of hurt humans, unlike the black ones. Because of that, humans and brown rats have managed to co-exist for decades.
However, this does not mean that the presence of brown rats is completely safe and alright. They are also very much capable of destructing properties and threatening human lives. It is still in our best interest to repel brown rats out of our properties. But in order to do so, we have to possess at least modicum knowledge on how these rodents live their lives. This article will be all about their common habitats.
Years before brown rats became very common town and city pests, it was confirmed that they were once native to the forests. But that was many years ago. When they 'realized' that it is so much easier to depend on human wastes, they began to live with humans and it remained that way until today. They are very much well adapted to the human civilization that they have reached a point when they already considered human waste as their main source of food. Because of this, these rats are most commonly found in sewers, garbage bins, dumps and in other places where human wastes are most likely to be found. Being adaptable, these rats have learned how to become really good swimmers (because the places where human waste is mostly present are damped or flooded too). Thus, brown rats are now referred to as "water rats" too; in addition to their other names (sewer rats, Norway rats, etc.).
Talking about history, these rats are originally present only in the northern part of China and in some places in the outskirts of Europe and America. But that was in the 18th and 19th centuries, beyond those years, these rats have started to go mainstream and lived even in the most populated cities in the world (N.Y., Washington D.C., Beijing, etc.). They have also reached the other parts of the world through unwise cargo shipping where they get inside ships that travel to different places across the ocean. Unfortunately, many of these "new" places were not prepared for a brown rat infestation; it was common for these places to experience severe rat problems during the first few years of the infestation.
Ecology and Conservation
Brown rats are highly territorial animals. They can have a territorial range of as wide as 150 feet in radius, with their nest being the center point. They can re-produce very rapidly too and require very little amount of food to survive. Because of this, these rodents are considered as one of the animals which are in need of "least concern" when it comes to conservation.
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