Rattus rattus, is found on all continents of the earth. Although the species is believed to be native to India and possibly other Indo-Malayan countries, it has been introduced through human travel overseas to all continents. It is most common in coastal areas because it is a rodent that flourishes in areas inhabited by humans as well as on large ships. For this reason, these animals are often called ship rats. Some other common names for this species include house rat, black rat, and roof rat. Rattus rattus thrives in tropical regions but has been largely driven out of more temperate regions by Noway rats, R. norvegicus. Norway rats, are closely related to black rats, but are more successful in colder climates. However, some data show that R. rattus has been able to adapt to more extreme cold and harsh climate conditions.
Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Introduced ); palearctic (Introduced ); oriental (Native ); ethiopian (Introduced ); neotropical (Introduced ); australian (Introduced ); antarctica (Introduced ); oceanic islands (Introduced )
Other Geographic Terms: cosmopolitan
- Pye, Swain, and Seppelt, 1999. Distribution and habitat use of the feral black rat (Rattus rattus) on subantarctic Macquarie Island. Journal of Zoology, 247: 429-438.
- Grzimek, B. 2003. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia: Mammals. Pp. 126-128 in N Schlager, D Olendorf, M McDade, eds. Order: Rodentia, Vol. 16, 2nd Edition. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group.