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Welcome to Countrywide, Pest Control in Berkshire for Reading Pest Control, Bracknell, Wokingham, Henley on Thames, Caversham, Pangbourne, Theale, Thatcham, Newbury, Hungerford, Lambourn and other West Berkshire pest control areas. Hampshire Pest Control Services for Basingstoke, Fleet, Farnham, Hook, Hartley Wintney. South Oxfordshire Pest Control and Pest Control Services for Marlborough and Swindon in Wiltshire.
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The Brown Rat

Pest control for property

  • Newbury & Thatcham

    01635 766007

  • Reading & Henley on Thames

    0118 329 0020

  • Bracknell & Wokingham

    01344 970557

  • Basingstoke & Tadley

    01256 220579

  • Farnborough & Farnham

    01252 220278

  • Swindon & Marlborough

    01793 940001

Brown rat, Norway rat, common rat

They spread across Britain via the shipping traffic from foreign countries in the 18th Century, largely replacing the black rat. Along with house mice, they are considered to be the most widespread terrestrial mammal

Latin/scientific name | Rattus norvegicus

Life span

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Typically up to 18 months in the wild, but domestic rats live for an average of three years.


Head and body length: 18cm, Weight: 200-400g.

Physical Description

Brown rats have coarse brown (occasionally black) fur, with a pale underside. They have a long tail, which is sparsely haired.


Although originally native to east Asia and Japan, brown rats are now distributed world-wide. They are found all over Britain except for exposed mountain regions and some small offshore islands.


Brown rats are highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, typically near human habituation.


Brown rats are omnivorous but prefer starch and protein-rich foods, such as cereals. Their diet includes meat, fish, vegetables, weeds, earthworms, crustaceans, nuts and fruit. They sometimes cache food to return to later.


They are typically nocturnal, although they will sometimes forage for food during the day.

They live in loose colonies, made up of aggregations of clans - usually consisting of a mated pair, or a male and a harem of females. Clans will defend their territory from other rats, and there is a dominance hierarchy whereby the biggest rats are dominant over their smaller counterparts.

Home ranges are generally 50 metres in diameter. In areas of high population, fights will often break out, involving a vigorous scuffle leading to the loser being chased off and bitten on the rump.

Brown rats swim well and are sometimes mistaken for water voles. Rats have well-developed senses of hearing and smell.


Brown rats breed throughout the year and can produce five litters a year. Females give birth to an average of eight young, after a gestation of 22-24 days. These are weaned after 3-4 weeks.

Do you have problems with Brown rats? Do you need some further information?

Click here to read our getting rid of rats page

For free advice, Call our office team on 0800 078 7255

or email our Rat control expert

12-20 Oxford Street Newbury Berkshire RG14 1JB | 200 Brook Drive, Green Park, Reading RG2 6UB | Pinewood, Chineham Business Park, Crockford Lane, Basingstoke RG24 8AL