century. Over the years, since then it has virtually
replaced the smaller
Brown Rat (An Francach Donn ) There are two species of rat found in Ireland, the
being the brown rat. The black rat is found usually
where you have people
and is to be found in every county in Ireland and on many off shore islands.
Its scientific name is rattus
norvegicus, which is Latin, which the Romans used.
The Romans never came to Ireland
. It originally invaded
Britain and Ireland
from timber boats from Norway, probably in the
first half of the 18th
black rat which was the common rat up to that time.
The black rat, which first came to Ireland aboard
ships in the middle ages, is now rare here.
A black melanistic form of the brown rat is often
mistaken for it and, therefore, reported
discoveries are critically
examined by scientists. There are reliable
indications, however, of the
presence of the black rat at Lurgan, County Armagh,
Tyrella, County Down,and
on Lambay island, County Dublin.
The brown rat is
larger and stronger than the black rat. It has a rather blunt muzzle and
lighter brown fur and a and canals where it burrows. It is a good digger
and jumps and swims well.
shorter and stouter tail than its rival. The black
rat has a slimmer
appearance and is more agile than the brown rat.
Its colour varies from
grey black to brown.
The brown rat is closely associated with human
habitation and is to be
found in industrial and commercial buildings, in
sewers and in and around farms. In the spring it moves out in to fields and
banks of rivers