The genus Rattus refers to a specific genus of muroid rodents, all typically called rats. However, the term rat can also be applied to species outside of this genus.

Temporal range: Early Pleistocene – Recent
Rattus norvegicus 1
The brown rat (Rattus norvegicus)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Muridae
Subfamily: Murinae
Genus: Rattus
Fischer de Waldheim, 1803

64 species


Stenomys Thomas, 1910

Species and description

The best-known Rattus species are the black rat (R. rattus) and the brown rat (R. norvegicus). The group is generally known as the Old World rats or true rats and originated in Asia. Rats are bigger than most Old World mice, which are their relatives, but seldom weigh over 500 grams (1.1 lb) in the wild.[1]

Taxonomy of Rattus

The genus Rattus is a member of the giant subfamily Murinae. Several other murine genera are sometimes considered part of Rattus: Lenothrix, Anonymomys, Sundamys, Kadarsanomys, Diplothrix, Margaretamys, Lenomys, Komodomys, Palawanomys, Bunomys, Nesoromys, Stenomys, Taeromys, Paruromys, Abditomys, Tryphomys, Limnomys, Tarsomys, Bullimus, Apomys, Millardia, Srilankamys, Niviventer, Maxomys, Leopoldamys, Berylmys, Mastomys, Myomys, Praomys, Hylomyscus, Heimyscus, Stochomys, Dephomys and Aethomys.

The genus Rattus proper contains 64 extant species. A subgeneric breakdown of the species has been proposed, but does not include all species.



The following phylogeny of selected Rattus species is from Pagès, et al. (2010).[2]

Berylmys bowersi

Berylmys berdmorei

Bandicota savilei

Bandicota indica


Rattus nitidus

Rattus norvegicus

Rattus exulans

Rattus andamanensis

Rattus argentiventer

Rattus tiomanicus

Rattus losea

Rattus sp.

Rattus tanezumi

Rattus rattus


  1. ^ "Habits, Habitat & Types of Mice". Live Science. Archived from the original on 24 May 2015. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  2. ^ Pagès, Marie; Chaval, Yannick; Herbreteau, Vincent; Waengsothorn, Surachit; Cosson, Jean-François; Hugot, Jean-Pierre; Morand, Serge; Michaux, Johan (2010). "Revisiting the taxonomy of the Rattini tribe: a phylogeny-based delimitation of species boundaries". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 10: 184. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-10-184. Archived from the original on 2017-07-10.
Arianus's rat

Arianus's rat (Rattus omichlodes), also known as Arianus' New Guinea mountain rat, is a species of rat native to the mountains of Papua Province, Indonesia.

Black rat

The black rat (Rattus rattus)—also known as ship rat, roof rat, or house rat—is a common long-tailed rodent of the stereotypical rat genus Rattus, in the subfamily Murinae.Black rats are generalist omnivores. They are serious pests to farmers because they eat a wide range of agricultural crops. They are black to light brown in color with a lighter underside. Domesticated black rats are sometimes kept as pets, but are much less common in this role than the larger brown rat (Rattus norvegicus).

Bonthain rat

The Bonthain rat (Rattus bontanus) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae.

It is found only in southwestern Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Brown rat

The brown rat (Rattus norvegicus), also known as the common rat, street rat, sewer rat, Hanover rat, Norway rat, Norwegian rat, Parisian rat, water rat, or wharf rat, is one of the best known and most common rats.

One of the largest muroids, it is a brown or grey rodent with a head and body length of up to 28 cm (11 in) long, and a tail slightly shorter than that. It weighs between 140 and 500 g (4.9 and 17.6 oz). Thought to have originated in northern China, this rodent has now spread to all continents except Antarctica, and is the dominant rat in Europe and much of North America, making it, by at least this particular definition, the most successful mammal on the planet alongside humans. With rare exceptions, the brown rat lives wherever humans live, particularly in urban areas.

Selective breeding of the brown rat has produced the fancy rat as a pet, as well as the laboratory rat – the white rats used as model organisms in biological research.

Bush rat

The bush rat (Rattus fuscipes) is a small Australian nocturnal animal. It is an omnivore and one of the most common indigenous species of rat on the continent, found in many heathland areas of Victoria and New South Wales.

Eastern rat

The eastern rat (Rattus mordax) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae.

It is found only in Papua New Guinea.

Glacier rat

The glacier rat (Rattus richardsoni) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae. It is endemic to the New Guinea Highlands near Puncak Trikora (=Mt. Wilhelmina) and Puncak Jaya (=Carstensz Pyramid), West Papua, Indonesia. Its altitudinal range is 3,225–4,500 m (10,581–14,764 ft) above sea level.


The Old World rats and mice, part of the subfamily Murinae in the family Muridae, comprise at least 519 species. Members of this subfamily are called murines. This subfamily is larger than all mammal families except the Cricetidae and Muridae, and is larger than all mammal orders except the bats and the remainder of the rodents.

Nectomys rattus

Nectomys rattus, the small-footed bristly mouse, Amazonian nectomys or Amazonian mouse, is a species of rodent in the genus Nectomys of family Cricetidae. It is found in Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela, where it lives in a variety of habitats including lowland tropical rainforest, cerrado and caatinga. It was recognized as distinct only in 2000 and its limits with other Nectomys, including Nectomys apicalis and Nectomys squamipes, remain unclear.

Nonsense rat

The nonsense rat, Nicobar Archipelago rat, or Miller's Nicobar rat (Rattus burrus) is endemic to the Nicobar Islands in India. It is found on Great Nicobar, Little Nicobar, and Trinket islands. On Car Nicobar Island, Rattus palmarum and Rattus anadamanensis are found instead of the nonsense rat.The nonsense rat was first described in 1902 by Miller, who placed it in the genus Mus. Today it is classified in the genus Rattus. The origin of the name "nonsense rat" is uncertain, as Miller did not provide a common name in his original description, but more recent sources, such as the IUCN, include it.

Palm rat

The palm rat (Rattus palmarum) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae. It is found only in the Nicobar Islands, on Car Nicobar and Great Nicobar islands.

The palm rat's natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forest and subtropical or tropical mangrove forest.

Polynesian rat

The Polynesian rat, Pacific rat or little rat (Rattus exulans), known to the Māori as kiore, is the third most widespread species of rat in the world behind the brown rat and black rat. The Polynesian rat originated in Southeast Asia, and like its relatives, has become widespread, migrating to most Polynesian islands, including New Zealand, Marshall Islands, Easter Island, and Hawaii. It shares high adaptability with other rat species extending to many environments, from grasslands to forests. It is also closely associated with humans, who provide easy access to food. It has become a major pest in most areas of its distribution.


Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents. Species of rats are found throughout the order Rodentia, but stereotypical rats are found in the genus Rattus. Other rat genera include Neotoma (pack rats), Bandicota (bandicoot rats) and Dipodomys (kangaroo rats).

Rats are typically distinguished from mice by their size. Generally, when someone discovers a large muroid rodent, its common name includes the term rat, while if it is smaller, its name includes the term mouse. The common terms rat and mouse are not taxonomically specific. In other words, rat is not a scientific term; if it were, all rats would belong to the genus Rattus.

Rattus Rattus (album)

Rattus Rattus is an album by the Japanese noise musician Merzbow.

Ricefield rat

The ricefield rat (Rattus argentiventer) is a species of rat found throughout Southeast Asia.

Sikkim rat

The Sikkim rat (Rattus andamanensis) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae.

It is found in Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam. The rat's coloring is brownish upperparts and a white underside

Southeastern xanthurus rat

The southeastern xanthurus rat (Rattus salocco), is a rodent of the genus Rattus.

Tanezumi rat

The Tanezumi rat (Rattus tanezumi), also known as the Asian rat or Asian house rat, is a species of rodent in the family Muridae. It is closely related to the black rat (Rattus rattus). It is widespread in eastern, southern and south-eastern Asia, being found in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Vogelkop mountain rat

The Vogelkop mountain rat, Rattus arfakiensis, is a species of rat native to Indonesia. It is found only in the Bird's Head Peninsula (possibly throughout the Arfak Mountains) of Papua Province, Indonesia.

Extant species of subfamily Murinae (Rattus)
(Bandicoot rats)
(White-toothed rats)
(Typical rats)
(Giant Sunda rats)

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