Brown Rat

Rattus norvegicus

  1. Wildlife
  2. Mammals
  3. Brown Rat


The Brown Rat is an incredibly adaptable mammal and can be found almost everywhere in the UK, in any habitat: all it needs is shelter and food. Brown Rats are omnivorous, eating pretty much anything, from fruit and seeds to human food waste, insects, birds eggs or even small mammals. They are particularly common around towns and cities.

How to identify

Much bigger than any mice. Distinguished from the smaller Water Vole by its grey-brown fur, pointed nose, relatively large, bare ears and long, scaly tail.

Where to find it

Found throughout the country.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Brown Rats can be a serious pest, but often will live side-by-side with humans without cause for concern. Unfortunately for the endangered Water Vole, pest controllers often mistake Rats and Water Voles and accidentally poison populations of the latter or disturb their homes. The Wildlife Trusts work with pest controllers to inform them of the differences between these two species and to find the most wildlife-friendly solutions to some of our everyday problems.

Species information

Common name
Brown Rat
Latin name
Rattus norvegicus
Length: 25cm plus a tail of 22cm Weight: 350g Average lifespan: up to 3 years
Conservation status