How Big Do Rats Get
Are Cat-Sized Rats Taking Over Dc?
Although the recent discovery of megarats is alarming, we don't really need to be concerned.
Popville wrote about the discovery of a large rat in Columbia Heights. Popville's headline stated it all. "I will never again sleep soundly." This was a reference to another case last summer, when an even larger rat was rescued from the street on a sunny afternoon near U Street. Washington's rats are getting…bigger.
This is good news. This probably won't be true. Robert Corrigan is an urban rodentologist who has been studying rats for over 30 years. "There's not any scientific evidence that they're getting bigger," he says.
What is the explanation for these mammoth rodents, then? Corrigan points to three possible explanations. When rats are frightened, they will often fluff out their fur to make themselves look bigger. Sometimes rats' hair is so long it makes them appear twice as big as they really are. Corrigan says, "That is their defensive posture." "They're trying to scare their predators away." But these rats were dead, so fur fluffing can't be the answer. The body can also bloat if it is dead, whether rats or other animals. Especially when the carcass is exposed to the sun, the gasses blow up the body and the softened decomposing skin begins to stretch. So a dead rat can often appear much bigger than it was back when it was scampering around the alley.
However, the Popville pic of the rat didn't look particularly decomposed. This brings us to our third choice. There are many rat breeds available in DC that weigh more than the average one-pound rat. Corrigan says that exotic species can sometimes be imported to pets. One example is the Gambian pouched Rat, which is a native African breed and can weigh as much as nine pounds. "People are bringing them in on the black market, like little puppies," he says. These animals are similar to the urban rat in appearance, but much larger.
Corrigan saw the picture and confirmed it to be a Gambian pouched Rat. The mystery solved. These monsters won't breed with common rats, so you don't need to be concerned about mutts.
So no, this disturbing photo is not evidence that DC's rats are suddenly getting bigger.
Which is The World's Biggest Rat?
The capybara is Brazil's biggest rodent and is widely found in Brazil and the surrounding countries. Living in semi-aquatic habitats, this rodent-shaped South American rodent measures between 3.5 and 4.4 feet long, has a height of up to 24 inches, and is 77 to 246 pounds.
How Big Do City Rats Get?
New York City rats come from The Norway Rat. Average brown rats are 16 inches tall and weigh 1 pound. But some grow to be 20 inches long and 2 lbs. The average brown rat requires only one ounce of food, 28 grams each day, to stay alive.
How Big Do Garden Rats Get?
Average adult rats have a length of 21cm. They also have relatively long tails with no hair that can add an additional 18cm.
Are Fancy Rats Really Big?
The normal body length for an adult Fancy Rat is between nine and 11 inches, with an average body weight, which can range from 450-650 grams for males and 350-450 grams for females. June 29, 2012