The black rat (Rattus rattus), also known as the ship rat, roof rat, house rat, is a common long-tailed rodent of the genus Rattus (rats) in the subfamily Murinae. The species originated in tropical Asia and spread through the Near East in Roman times before reaching Europe by the 1st century and spreading with Europeans across the world.
Black rats are generalist omnivores. They are serious pests to farmers as they eat a wide range of agricultural crops.
A typical adult black rat is 12.75 to 18.25 cm (5.0–7.2 in) long, not including a 15 to 22 cm (5.9–8.7 in) tail, and weighs 75 to 230 Gramms, depending on its subspecies. Despite its name, the black rat exhibits several colour forms. It is usually black to light brown in colour with a lighter underside. In England during the 1920s, several variations were bred and shown alongside domesticated brown rats. This included an unusual green tinted variety. The black rat also has a scraggly coat of black fur, and is slightly smaller than the brown (Norway) rat.