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The Black Rat
Transcript of The Black Rat
BIOL Lab 1210-AD Introduction The common name for our invasive species is the “Black Rat”. The scientific name is Rattus Rattus. You might also have heard another name for this rat and that is the “Roof Rat”
This particular type of organism is a predator.
If one were to see this rat it would have a blackish body, may or may not have a grey or white strip down the middle of the belly, and they are a smaller size rat(5-10 ounces, 11 cm from tip of tail to nose). Also there ears can be pulled over their eyes.
Our group studied this rat because Kudzu was taken, and this was our second option.
Biology Originated in India and Southeast Asia (Tropical)
Populations can explode under certain circumstances
Ex: During fruiting of the bamboo plant Adapt to a wide range of habitats
Most Commonly found in:
Found around warehouses residential, buildings, and other human settlements
Live in dry upper levels of buildings
Ex: Commonly found in wall cavities and false ceilings
Urban Areas Agricultural Areas Barns and crop fields
Others areas like fences, ponds, riverbanks, streams, and reservoirs
Prefer to live in trees, such as pines and palm trees.
Nesting Spherical and made of shredded material, including sticks, leaves, other vegetation, and cloth. Life Cycle Gestation 20-22 days
Weaning 21-28 days
Sexual maturity 3-4 months; total life may not exceed two years
Life cycle of rats is around a year to eighteen months
Female will typically breed up to six time
Breeding occurs throughout the year, but especially in the spring or autumn Problems 1. What is the mode of introduction of the species?
The specific origins of the black rat are uncertain due to the rat’s disappearance and reintroduction of the species. Evidence, such as DNA and bone fragments, also suggests that rats did not originally come from Europe, but instead, migrated from Southeast Asia. 2. What ecological, economic, and environmental impacts does it have? Black rat populations can explode under certain circumstances, perhaps having to do with the timing of the fruiting of the bamboo plant, and cause devastation to the plantings of subsistence farmers. Throughout most of the world, black rats are found only in disturbed habitats near people, mainly near the coast. Black rats are the most frequent predator of small forest birds, invertebrates, and perhaps lizards in forests, and are key ecosystem change. In the wild, black rats live in cliffs, rocks, the ground, and trees. They are great climbers and prefer to live in trees, such as pines and palm trees. Their nests are typically spherical and made of shredded material, including sticks, leaves, other vegetation, and cloth. In the absence of trees, they can burrow into the ground. Black rats are also found around fences, ponds, riverbanks, and streams. Black rats were responsible for spreading the Bubonic Plague during the Middle Ages as they carried the flea which transmitted this disease. 3. What is the geographical range of the species?
Originated in south-east Asia from where it has spread to large areas of the world. It arrived in Europe in the early Middle Ages and became very widespread until it was displaced by the brown rat. In its natural habitat, the black rat likes to spend of its time in trees. 4. Describe how the species is successful (i.e., reproduction and dispersal)
Although black rats eat a broad range of foods, they are highly selective feeders; only a restricted number of the foods they eat are dominant foods. When black rat populations are presented with a wide diversity of foods, they eat only a small sample of each of the available foods. This allows them to monitor the quality of foods that are present year round, such as leaves, as well as seasonal foods, such as herbs and insects. This method of operating on a set of storing food ultimately determines the final composition of their meals. Also, by looking around for the available food in an area, the rats maintain a dynamic food supply, balance their nutrient intake, and avoid intoxication by secondary compounds. It builds large, roughly round nests out of sticks and dry leaves up in the branches, but it will also nest in a burrow if there are no suitable trees. When living inside a building, it builds a nest in a hole in the wall, or in a cavity above the ceiling or beneath the floorboards. Solution Preventative Measures of Control Keep food contained and stored away.
Seal any portions of a house which may be inviting to the Black Rat (Rattus Rattus).
Keep brush trimmed and cut down Current Methods of Control Rodenticides-chemical control method
Trapping-mechanical control method
Cats/Owls-biological control method Biological Control Methods In urban areas cats play an important role as being the tertiary consumer.
In rural areas owls and snakes are natural predators to the black rat Effectiveness of Control Methods Chemical methods (rodenticides) are the most effective.
Biological methods are somewhat effective most cats will not mess with adult black rats while owls will devour them.
Mechanical methods are effective with the help of the other methods helping too
Future Directions of Research and Awareness My recommendation would be to continue studying the habits and the activity of the black rat and figure out a way that the natural predators such as the cats and owls in domestic settings, and in less urban settings the weasels, foxes, and coyotes – can be a more useful asset in controlling the population of the black rat. Also a safer and more effective form of poison control that prevents the rats from returning back to their normal population size and from reproducing so fast. My recommendation of awareness to the public would be to have public announcements in areas where the black rat is invasive problem. Also letting the public know how they can be of use to help eradicate them. References http://icwdm.org/handbook/rodents/RoofRats.asp
"Black Rat." Index. Web. 25 Apr. 2011. <http://www.the-piedpiper.co.uk/th1b.htm>.
"AFRMA - The Black Rat." Web. 25 Apr. 2011. <http://www.afrma.org/blackrat.htm>
Walsh, Mart. Black-rat on DeviantART. Web. 25 Apr. 2011. <http://black-rat.deviantart.com/>.