Grey/brown fur with long naked tail about as long as the head and body. Prominent pointed muzzle and prominent ears. Much larger than any mice. Often swims with just the head above the water.
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Brown rat footprints are small and difficult to spot. They should show five straight toes (three forwards, two outwards). Width of hind foot up to 4.5cm.
Rat droppings are putty-like, usually with a blunt end and a pointed end. Most commonly seen in farmland and urban areas. Variable: up to 17mm in length and 6mm wide.
Colour: blackish brown
Smell: foul, rancid smelling
Widespread throughout the British Isles. (Maps are based on expert advice, as of 2007. Some species ranges may have changed in the time since. We are currently in the process of updating the maps.)
Omnivorous (feeds on both plants and animals) opportunist, but prefers starch-rich or protein-rich foods. In urban environments will eat meat, fish, bone and even candles or soap.
1 year on average.
Water Vole (Arvicola amphibius)
Water vole has chestnut brown fur, compared to the rat’s grey/brown fur on top and grey underside. Muzzle of water vole is fairly blunt, compared to pointed muzzle of brown rat. Water vole’s ears are subtle and usually covered by fur, whereas brown rat has larger more prominent ears. Slightly furry tail, 60% of body length, shorter than brown rat (90% of body length).