Urban Mammals: Rats

Malaysian field rat (Rattus tiomanicus)

Malaysian field rat (Rattus tiomanicus)

Local name: Tikus belukar

Description:

  • Brown upper parts and light grey to white underside, with a dark-coloured tail
  • Able to climb well and spends time on trees; forages on ground
  • Hides under fallen logs, in log piles, palm fronds and crowns of palm trees

Activity pattern: Mainly nocturnal

Ecological function: Scavenger

Level in food chain: Secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour:  Omnivore

Food items: Vegetables including oil palm fruits, animal matter

Microhabitat: Found in a wide variety of habitats including coastal forests, especially mangroves, secondary forests and grasslands. It has also adapted to plantations such as rubber and sometimes oil palm.


Brown rat (Rattus norvegicus)

Local name: Tikus mondok

Description: –

  • Brown to brownish-grey fur
  • Acute hearing and sensitive to ultrasound
  • Good swimmer
  • Capable of rapidly reproducing hence, efforts to eradicate the species in urban areas are usually unsuccessful

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Scavenger

Level in food chain: Secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour:  Omnivore

Food items: Consumes almost anything including scrambled eggs, raw carrots, cooked corn kernels

Microhabitat: Sewage, holes in houses, drains


Asian house rat (Rattus tanezumi)

Local name: –

Description:

  • Olive-brown upper-side with lighter underside; dark grey tail and nearly naked
  • Large ears and jet-black eyes
  • Can run fast and climb well; also capable of jumping up to 50cm high

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Scavenger

Level in food chain: Secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour:  Omnivore

Food items: Consumes almost anything including farmyard wastes and food scraps

Microhabitat: Can be found in various man-made habitats including agricultural and urban areas