Rats Can Grow to the Size of Small Pets: Fact
Although humans are larger than rats, that doesn’t stop these little pests from being any less frightening when they cross our paths. Seeing horror movies and online viral videos showing larger than life rats doesn’t put our inherent fear at ease. So, how big can rats really get? Let’s find out in this month’s fact or fake.
We’ve all seen online videos and news reports of giant rat sightings in cities and sewers, but more times than not, these sightings are mistaken for other vermin like gophers, possum and nutria. Rats come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and there are thousands of species around the world. The most common rats you might cross paths with are the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) and black rat (Rattus rattus). The average length of these adult rats can reach up to 20 inches from nose to tail and weighs up to 12 ounces. Male rats are typically heavier than female rats, and their size is typically heavily related to their access to an available food supply.
While brown rats and black rats squeeze their way through crevices and roam the woods, streets and alleyways, these critters are not among the world’s largest. For example, the Sumatran bamboo rat (Rhizomys sumatrensis) can grow up to 20 inches long, and like it can weigh up to 9 pounds—that’s the size of a domestic cat. Another heavy hitter would be the Gambian pouched rat that can measure up to three feet long and weigh almost three pounds. The largest rats found to date, which thankfully are no longer around, were the fossilized remains of giant Indonesian rats. In 2015, researchers discovered several species of the now-extinct giant rats, the largest of which weighed a whopping 11 pounds! That’s the size of a small dachshund.
No matter what size rat or pest you’re dealing with, leave the treatment to the professionals. Contact your local Orkin professional to schedule an inspection and customize a plan that’s right for you.
“The world’s largest rats are the size of small dogs” BBC Earth