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Are All Rats the Same? Understanding the Differences


Yuma Pest Blog

Rats are more than just pests that you try to avoid at all costs. They are intelligent creatures that have a heightened olfactory sense with bodies who are able to fit into unimaginably small spaces. But are they cute and cuddly, or are they just a menace? These differences will show you if the rat you see is a friend or foe.


Wild rats don’t like to make friends like the ones you see in a pet store. If you see any together, it is only for them to work together to steal your food or mate. Typically, wild rats will get aggressive if they are around other rats, whereas domestic rats are social with others.

Commonly, domesticated rats are known to take care and bond together in groups. They have the same “pack” mentality as wolves do in large groups and are known to even have a lead “alpha” rat. This same “alpha” leadership can be found in wild rats.


Rats have the ability to grow up to a foot long, and most domesticated rats do. Wild rats have a shorter life span, so they often do not reach this potential, averaging only up to 10 inches. In the wild, the food source is more limited than what humans can offer, leading them to be wiry and lighter.

Domesticated rats have a plethora of colors due to cross-breeding, appearing in white, brown, black, spotted, or even striped, whereas wild rats mostly appear with only black or brown fur that only looks bigger when they fluff it up as they get aggressive.


Just as expected, wild rats are more frantic and adaptable. They often lead stressful lives and can have reproductive failure. If a wild rat is domesticated, their first litter will be smaller and take over 20 generations to have litters the same size as domesticated rats. If a domesticated rat was released into the wild, they would suffer from a lack of stamina and the necessary skills to survive. Unless there is human intervention, they often cannot survive.

If you find that you have a rat problem, there are people who can help you out. For 25 years Yuma Pest & Termite Systems have been offering pest control by using eco-friendly products that are warrantied. To request more information on how they can help you, contact Yuma Pest today!

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