They live everywhere people do. They were stowaways on ships that sailed European waters climbing along the ropes of docked ships, in search of a food source. There are now an estimated 60 million rats in London and 250 million in the UK. Rats have poor vision. They also don’t see in colour.
A group of rats is called a mischief. Females are called ‘does’ and males are called ‘bucks.’ Rats are clean animals. They spend hours every day carefully cleaning and grooming themselves and each other. Their reputation comes from humans, as they recycle the rubbish we discard everyday. The great plague that hit Europe in the 1300’s was caused by a bacterial infection that lived on fleas, some of which were carried by the rat, so the rat was not entirely responsible for the plague if the rat had not existed the plague would have likely to have happened anyway.
DID YOU KNOW? If humans were tidier, there would be a lot fewer rats!