Author: Joe Humphreys
Excerption from: Wild in the City Article, Irish Times
The brown rat - otherwise known as Rattus norvegicus , the Norway rat, or the common rat - rules supreme. Rentokil’s Irish manager Michael O’Mahoney said, “in my 25 years’ in pest control, I have never come across a black rat".
Slimmer, with larger ears and a longer tail, the Rattus rattus is typically grey brown, with a pale underside, but may be completely black. Otherwise known as the ship rat, it is today - as in the time of the Black Death - most commonly sighted in ports.
Other countries have attempted to measure the rat population with questionable results. A 2003 national rodent survey in the UK put the population there at 60 million - about equal to the UK’s human population.
However, in New York, where one might expect a higher concentration of rats, researchers estimated a population of 250,000.
O’Mahoney agrees that estimating the number of rats in Ireland is pure guesswork. However, “our calls have gone up consistently, which is down to several things. People are more hygiene-conscious. They are calling us sooner.” The public also appears to be more squeamish. “People call us now when they see a mouse.” The one thing on which everyone agrees is that rat-sightings track building and construction work of which we have seen plenty recently...