Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps

CAVS: 1408

Species Rattus rattus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Black Rat


Generic Combinations

  • Rattus rattus (Linnaeus, 1758).




Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia

Extra Distribution Information

Worldwide in tropics and warm temperate zones.

Introduced from Europe and the Orient.

IBRA and IMCRA regions (map not available)


ACT, NSW, NT, Qld, SA, Tas, Vic, WA: Australian Alps (AA), Arnhem Coast (ARC), Arnhem Plateau (ARP), Avon Wheatbelt (AW), Brigalow Belt North (BBN), Brigalow Belt South (BBS), Ben Lomond (BEL), Central Arnhem (CA), Carnarvon (CAR), Channel Country (CHC), Central Kimberley (CK), Central Mackay Coast (CMC), Cape York Peninsula (CYP), Daly Basin (DAB), Darwin Coastal (DAC), Dampierland (DL), Einasleigh Uplands (EIU), Esperance Plains (ESP), Eyre Yorke Block (EYB), Finke (FIN), Flinders Lofty Block (FLB), Flinders (FLI), Gawler (GAW), Gulf Fall and Uplands (GFU), Geraldton Sandplains (GS), Gulf Coastal (GUC), Jarrah Forest (JF), King (KIN), Mallee (MAL), Murray Darling Depression (MDD), Mitchell Grass Downs (MGD), Naracoorte Coastal Plain (NCP), Northern Kimberley (NK), NSW North Coast (NNC), Ord Victoria Plain (OVP), Pine Creek (PCK), Pilbara (PIL), Sydney Basin (SB), South East Coastal Plain (SCP), South East Corner (SEC), South Eastern Highlands (SEH), South Eastern Queensland (SEQ), Stony Plains (STP), Swan Coastal Plain (SWA), Tasmanian Central Highlands (TCH), Tiwi Cobourg (TIW), Tasmanian Northern Midlands (TNM), Tasmanian Northern Slopes (TNS), Tasmanian South East (TSE), Tasmanian Southern Ranges (TSR), Tasmanian West (TWE), Victoria Bonaparte (VB), Victorian Midlands (VM), Victorian Volcanic Plain (VVP), Warren (WAR), Wet Tropics (WT)

Ecological Descriptors

Necrophagous, omnivore, peridomestic, subtropical, terrestrial.

Extra Ecological Information

Good swimmer.


General References

Aplin, K.P., Brown, P.R., Jacob, J., Krebs, C.J. & Singleton, G.R. 2004. Field Methods for Rodent Studies in Asia and the Pacific. ACIAR Monograph No. 100. Canberra : Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

Aplin, K.P., Chesser, T. & Have, J. 2003. Evolutionary biology of the genus Rattus: profile of an archetypal rodent pest. In, Singleton, G.R., Hinds, L.A., Krebs, C.K. & Spratt, D.M. (eds). Rats, Mice and People: Rodent Biology and Management. Canberra : Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

Baverstock, P.R., Watts, C.H.S., Adams, M. & Cole, S.R. 1981. Genetical relationships among Australian rodents (Muridae). Australian Journal of Zoology 29: 289-303

Claridge, A.W. & May, T.W. 1994. Mycophagy among Australian mammals. Australian Journal of Ecology 19: 251-275

Cooper, N.K. 1994. Identification of Pseudomys albocinereus, P. occidentalis, P. shortridgei, Rattus rattus and R. fuscipes using footpad patterns. Western Australian Naturalist 19: 279-283

Copson, G.R. 1986. The diet of the introduced rodents Mus musculus L. and Rattus rattus L. on subantarctic Macquarie Island. Australian Wildlife Research 13: 441-445

Cowan, P.E. 1981. Early growth and development of roof rats, Rattus rattus L. Mammalia 45: 239-250

Cox, M.P.G., Dickman, C.R. & Cox, W.G. 2000. Use of habitat by the black rat (Rattus rattus) at North Head, New South Wales: an observational experimental study. Austral Ecology 25: 375-385

Dunstan, C.E. & Fox, B.J. 1996. The effects of fragmentation and disturbance of rainforest on ground-dwelling small mammals on the Robertson Plateau, New South Wales, Australia. Journal of Biogeography 23: 187-201

Gemmeke, von H. & Niethammer, J. 1984. Zur Taxonomie der Gattung Rattus (Rodentia, Muridae). Zeitschrift fur Säugetierkunde 49: 104-116

Hinton, M.A.C. 1916. A History of British Mammals. London : Gurney & Jackson Vol. 18–19.

Mallick, S.A. 1992. Urine-marking in three species of Rattus. Wildlife Research 19: 89-93

Niethammer, J. 1975. Zur Taxonomic und Ausbrietungsgeschichte der Hausratte (Rattus rattus). Zoologischer Anzeiger 194: 405-415

Pasteur, N., Worms, J., Tohari, M. & Iskandar, D. 1982. Genetic differentiation in Indonesian and French rats of the subgenus Rattus. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 10: 191-196

Pouliquen, O., Leishman, M. & Redhead, T.D. 1989. Effects of radio collars on wild mice (Mus domesticus). Canadian Journal of Zoology 68: 1607-1609

Schwartz, E. & Schwartz, H.K. 1967. A monograph of the Rattus rattus Group. Escuela Nacinal Ciencia Biologicas Mexico 14: 79-178

Storer, T.I. (ed.) 1962. Pacific Island Rat Ecology Report of a study made on Ponape and adjacent islands 1955–1958. Bulletin of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum 225: 1-274

Watts, C.H.S. & Aslin, H.J. 1981. The Rodents of Australia. Sydney : Angus & Robertson xii 321 pp. 16 pls.

Yosida, T.H. 1980. Cytogenetics of the Black Rat. Karyotype evolution and species differentiation. Tokyo : Univ. Tokyo Press xiii 256 pp.


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
10-Dec-2010 10-Dec-2010 MOVED
10-Dec-2010 10-Dec-2010 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)