Domestic Rat

(Rattus norvegicus)


Domestic rat in the palm of a hand

Animal Info

Domestic rats are a part of Seneca Park Zoo’s ambassador animal collection.

Status in the Wild

Norway rats are common. They are subject to persistent pest control due to the damage they cause and the numerous diseases they spread.


Norway rats are originally native to northern China. These rats were native to forests and brushy areas; today however, they prefer a habitat right alongside the rapid expansion of human populations.


Rats are excellent foragers. They feed on many types of food including food discarded by humans. They also eat mice, chicks, birds, small lizards, and occasionally fish.

Did you know?

Rats are now found on every continent in the world except Antarctica. They are the most successful mammal on the planet!

The terms rat and mouse are not taxonomically specific, but are generally just differentiated by size.

Some rat species are island endemics, and have become endangered due to competition with the black, brown or Polynesian rat.

Rats are very important as food for many animals, including reptiles, mammals, birds and even some amphibians!

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