Sewer Rat

Sewer Rat

Rattus norvegicus


Body length 240 mm; tail length 200 mm; weight 300 g. Shaggy fur; colour varies from black to white, but is generally brown on back and dirty white on belly; thick tail. Small ears when pulled forward, ear just reaches eye:

Habitat and Range:

Human habitation, in particular wharves, warehouses, tunnels, drains and sewers. Common. Port cities Australia-wide. Native to China, but now found in North America, NZ, Pacific and Indian Ocean islands, and the West Indies.


Nocturnal. Non-climbing, digs burrows. Feeds chiefly on meat (insects, prawns, birds, eggs, mice) and scraps. Wary and difficult to trap; unpleasant disposition. Similar to Ship Rat.


None sufficiently effective to exterminate it.


Trackways along creeks, riverbanks and in vegetation near rubbish tips and sewerage depots. Large droppings, pointed at one end (16 mm long by 5 mm wide).

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.