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Rattus norvegicus - Brown rat

French name:  Rat surmulot
Dutch name: Bruine rat
Family: Muridae
Group: Mammals
Origin: Asia
Habitat: freshwater
Introduction:  accidental
ISEIA Score : 11
Naturalization in Belgium
First observation in the wild: 1730
Invasion stage: stabilization
Spatial distribution: widespread
Reproduction in the wild: yes
Dispersion potential: high
Natural habitats: high
More on invasiveness: Brown rat mainly lives near human settlements. Wild populations are also found in natural habitats, especially along water edges. Natural spread is terrestrial, following paths and roads, rivers, lake banks and the seashore.
Distribution in Belgium
Established populations
absent from district
isolated populations (1-5 localities per district)
widespread (>5 localities per district)

Impacts on Species
Predation / Herbivory: high
Competition: likely
Disease transmission: likely
Genetic effects: low
Impacts on Ecosystems
Nutrient cycling: likely
Physical alteration: medium
Natural successions: likely
Food web alteration: likely
More on impacts: Brown rat are omnivorous and opportunistic. They may affect populations and cause local extinction of various plants, invertebrates and vertebrates (e.g. aquatic molluscs, fish, reptiles, birds and small mammals). They have contributed to the disappearance of several insular marine bird populations and may compete with other rodents. They are known to damage riverbanks and are also responsible for the spreading of pathogens such as leptospirosis, hantavirus, borreliosis and many others hazardous to man and animals.
Data Source & References
Authors: Branquart Etienne, Stuyck Jan.
Published on:  08 April 2009
Last update:  02 August 2011
Godin J. (2005)
Les espèces animales invasives des milieux aquatiques et humides du bassin Artois-Picardie
Agence de l'Eau Artois-Picardie.
ISSG (Invasive Species Specialist Group) (2006)
Online fact sheets
Global Invasive Species Database, IUCN.
Libois, R. (2006)
Les mammifères non volants de la région wallonne : tendances des populations.
Dossier scientifique réalisé dans le cadre de l'élaboration du Rapport analytique 2006 sur l'Etat de l'Environnement wallon, Unité de Recherches zoogéographiques, Université de Liège, 127 pp.
Mitchell-Jones, A. J., Amori, G., Bogdanowicz, W., Kryštufek, B., Reijnders, P. J. H., Spitzenberger, F., Stubbe, M., Thissen, J. B. M., Vohralík, V. & Zima, J. (1999)
The Atlas of European Mammals.
Poyser, London.
Pascal, M. and Lorvelec, O. (2006)
Rattus norvegicus.
DAISIE factsheet.
Pascal, M., Lorvelec, OL, Vigne J.D., Keith, P. & Clergeau, P. (2003)
Evolution holocène de la faune de vertébrés de France: invasions et extinctions.
Stuyck, J. (2003)
Bruine rat, Rattus norvegicus.
In: S. Verkem et al. (eds), Zoogdieren in Vlaanderen, Natuurpunt Studie & JNM-Zoogdierenwerkgroep.

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