Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents of the superfamily Muroidea. "True rats" are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans are the black rat, Rattus rattus, and the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus. Many members of other rodent genera and families are also referred to as rats, and share many characteristics with true rats.
The Lamia (Chiruromys lamia), also known as the Broad-headed Tree Mouse, is found chiefly in southeastern New Guinea. It is arboreal, living in hollow tree nests, and is found at every elevation from sea-level up.
The African Pygmy Mouse, (Mus minutoides) is possibly the smallest of all rodents and one of the smallest mammals. It is widespread within sub-Saharan Africa, and is kept as a pet in other parts of the world. Like the common House Mouse, it is a member of the enormous superfamily Muroidea, which includes about 1000 different species. Grey to brick-red overall, it is pale on the underside and has small but prominent triangular ears.
A hopping mouse or kangaroo rat is any of about ten different Australian native mice in the genus Notomys. They are rodents, not marsupials, and their ancestors are thought to have arrived from Asia about 5 million years ago. All are brown or fawn, fading to pale grey or white underneath, have very long tails and, as the common name implies, well-developed hind legs. Half of the hopping mouse species have become extinct since European colonisation.
The Dusky Hopping Mouse (Notomys fuscus) is an Australian native rodent specialised for the deep desert. Like all hopping mice it has strong front teeth, a long tail, dark eyes, big ears, well-developed haunches and very long, narrow hind feet. It weighs between 20 and 50 g (0.71 and 1.8 oz). (Compare with the common House Mouse, at 10 to 25 g . ) The Dusky Hopping Mouse has four pads on its soles. Colouration varies but tends to be pale orange, sometimes with grey tinges, and white underneath.
The Spinifex Hopping Mouse (Notomys alexis), also known as the Tarkawara or Tarrkawarra, occurs throughout the central and western Australian arid zones, occupying both spinifex-covered sand flats and stabilised sand dunes, and loamy mulga and melaleuca flats. The population fluctuates greatly: in normal years it is sparsely distributed and probably confined to sandy country; after rain the population explodes and spreads to other types of habitat for a time.
The Fawn Hopping Mouse (Notomys cervinus) is a rodent native to the central Australian desert. Like all hopping mice it has strong front teeth, a long tail, dark eyes, big ears, well-developed haunches and very long, narrow hind feet. It weighs between 30 and 50 g (1.1 and 1.8 oz). (Compare with the common House Mouse, at 10 to 25 g . ) The coloration of the Fawn Hopping Mouse varies from pale pinkish-fawn to grey on the upper parts, and white underneath.
Zyzomys is a genus of rodents with unusually thick, long tails. Five species of the genus are known in Australia, where they are called rock rats or thick-tailed rats. They were discovered by Michael Rogers Oldfield Thomas in 1909.
The Harvest Mouse, Micromys minutus is a small rodent native to Europe and Asia. They are typically found in fields of cereal crops such as wheat and oats as well as long grass and hedgerows. They have reddish-brown fur with white underparts and a naked, highly prehensile tail. An adult has a head and body between five and seven centimeters with a similar length of tail and weighs five to eleven grams. This mouse eats chiefly seeds and insects but also nectar and fruit.
The Polynesian Rat, or Pacific Rat (Rattus exulans), known to the Māori as kiore, is the third most widespread species of rat in the world behind the Brown Rat and Black Rat. The Polynesian Rat originates in Southeast Asia but, like its cousins, has become well travelled - infiltrating Fiji and most Polynesian islands, including New Zealand, Easter Island and Hawaii. It shares the ability to easily adapt to many different types of environments, from grasslands to forests.
The Flores Giant Rat (Papagomys armandvillei) occurs on the island of Flores in Indonesia. Head and body length is 41–45 cm (16.1–17.7 in. ) and tail length is 33–70 cm (13–27.5 in. ), making the Flores giant rat at least twice the size of an average Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus) with a 25 cm long body and 15 cm long tail. It is the only extant species in the genus Papagomys.
The Old World rats and mice, part of the subfamily Murinae in the family Muridae, comprise at least 519 species. This subfamily is larger than all mammal families except the Cricetidae and Muridae, and is larger than all mammal orders except the bats and the remainder of the rodents.
The Bush Rat (Rattus fuscipes) is a small Australian nocturnal animal. It is an omnivore. It is one of the most common species of rats and is found in many heathland areas of Victoria and NSW. Adult Bush Rats are smaller than the Australian Swamp Rat, (Rattus lutreolus), and in addition, the Bush Rat's foot pads are a pink colour, whereas the Swamp Rat's foot pads are dark brown. The Bush Rat is one of the new endemics, having naturalised in Australia in the second wave of rat migration.
The big-eared hopping mouse (Notomys macrotis) is an extinct species of mouse, which lived in the Moore River area of south-western Australia. The big-eared hopping mouse was a small, rat-sized animal resembling a tiny kangaroo. It moved by bounding upon its enlarged hind feet. Hopping mice are vulnerable to agriculture and pastoralism, as well as introduced cats and foxes. The last record dates from 19 July 1843 and was collected by John Gilbert, who was employed by John Gould.
The White-footed Rabbit-rat (Conilurus albipes) is an extinct species of rodent, which was originally found in woodlands from Adelaide to Sydney, but became restricted to south-eastern Australia. It was kitten-sized and was one of Australia's largest native rodents. It was nocturnal and lived among trees. It made nests filled with leaves and possibly grass in the limbs of hollow eucalyptus trees. The mother carried her young attached to her teats.
Gould's Mouse (Pseudomys gouldii) lived in eastern inland Australia, and was named after John Gould's wife, Elizabeth. It was slightly smaller than a black rat, and quite social, living in small family groups that sheltered by day in a nest of soft, dry grass in a burrow. It usually dug burrows at a depth of 15 cm under bushes. Gould's mouse was common and widespread before European settlement, but disappeared rapidly after the 1840s, perhaps being exterminated by cats.
The Short-tailed Hopping Mouse (Notomys amplus) is an extinct species of mouse from open stony (gibber) plains with desert grasses, low shrubs and sand ridges in the area around Charlotte Waters, near Alice Springs in Central Australia. It weighed 80 grams. The last record is from June 1896. Only two complete specimens were collected, probably from Aborigines.
The Maclear's Rat (Rattus macleari) was a large rat which lived on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. It was abundant, with numbers running in all directions at night. It made querulous squeaks and there were frequent fights. The rats entered tents and shelters, ran over sleepers, and upset everything when they searched for food. They may have kept the Christmas Island red crabs in check.
The Bulldog Rat (Rattus nativitatis) lived on the higher hills and denser forests of Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. They had short tails and their backs were covered in a two centimetre thick layer of fat. They lived in small colonies, in burrows among the roots of trees or under hollow logs in primary forest. They were sluggish and never climbed and may have seemed half-dazed in daylight. The last record dates from 1903.
The Lesser Stick-nest Rat or White-tipped Stick-nest Rat (Leporillus apicalis) lived in Southern inland Australia. It accumulated large mounds of sticks to construct its nests, which were up to three metres long and a metre high. It was easily tamed, sometimes climbing onto tables to get sugar. It was also eaten by people. The last capture was filmed on 18 July 1933, when the stick-nests were set alight. The specimens are held in the South Australian Museum.
The Ilin Island Cloudrunner (Crateromys paulus) is a critically endangered, possibly extinct cloud rat from Ilin Island in the Philippines. It is a fluffy-coated, bushy-tailed rat and may have emerged from tree hollows at night to feed on fruits and leaves. It is known from one specimen, collected on 4 April 1953, and presented to the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. The island's forests have been destroyed by human activity.
Hydromys chrysogaster, commonly known as Rakali or Water-rat, is an Australian native rodent. The species lives in burrows on the banks of rivers, lakes and estuaries and feeds on aquatic insects, fish, crustaceans, mussels, snails, frogs, birds' eggs and water birds. Rakali have a body 231–370 millimetres (9.1–14.6 in) in length, weigh 340–1,275 grams (0.75–2.8 lb), and have a thick tail measuring around 242–345 millimetres (9.5–13.6 in).