Terrier Plays the Long Game in His Battle With a Rat

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Written by Sharon Parry

Published: November 18, 2023

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Brown rat isolated on white background
© Holger Kirk/Shutterstock.com

Most dog owners would not list self-control as one of their pet’s strong points! This terrier, however, has learned to play the long game when it comes to catching rodents. Rollo is a Patterdale terrier and an expert in his field. It looks as if there are two rats in this clip, but he targets one. With pinpoint accuracy, he gets his target!

Why Do We Need to Control Rats?

This footage was captured in the UK, where the British Pest Control Association set out why rats must be controlled. One of the main reasons is that they carry disease. Research has found that rats can take at least 50 different pathogens (germs), which can potentially impact public health. These include E. coliLeptospira spp., and Toxoplasma gondii.

Also, rats gnaw things, including wood, metal, and plastic. This can cause considerable structural damage to buildings and homes. If they chew pipes, they can cause water leaks, and if they bite through electrical cables, they can cause power outages or evening electrical fires. Two types of rats live in the UK: the brown rat (also called the common rat) and, more rarely, the black rat.

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Which Are the Most Common Rats in the US?

Two rats on a shoe

Rats are found in cities all over the US.


Rats are medium-sized rodents with long tails that are found in all parts of the US. Chicago is honored to be the city with the most rats, followed by Los Angeles and New York. They are mainly found in urban and suburban areas because cities provide them with their needs. This is shelter, warmth, and food.

Norway rats, also known as brown or water rats, are common in the US. Their coat can be brown or dark gray, 8 to 10 inches long, with a 7 to 10-inch tail. They can weigh a maximum of around 12 ounces and are nocturnal. However, where there are dense populations, you will also see them out during the day.

Another species is the roof rat, also called the black rat, ship rat, and house rat. This species has a black or light brown coat and can grow to 15 inches with a 9-inch tile. They can weigh 8 or 9 ounces. It is thought that it was black rats that carried the Black Death epidemic that killed two-thirds of the population of Europe during the 14th century.

Then, there are wood rats, also known as pack rats, and marsh rats, excellent swimmers!

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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