Apart from a Disney film where he is a high-flying cook, he generally gets bad press, whether in Chambéry, Strasbourg or Limoges... Let's talk today about the brown rat in "Animal", the sound series which questions the place of the animal in the city.

Living beings, small or large, with whom we share our cities.

For this season in five episodes, we are interested in sparrows, bats, tiger mosquitoes, brown rats, free cats.

Mammals, birds, insects sometimes feared, even hated.

What are the perceptions, and the realities?

An intelligent being less present in the sewers

The brown rat, or Norway rat, namely the “rattus norvegicus”, comes, as its name does not suggest, from Asia.

To talk about it in this episode, Christiane Denys, professor at the Museum of Natural History in Paris, specialist in African rodents.

“The brown rat is the most abundant [in town].

It is the rat that people notice the most.

It is present in the sewers, even if it is found less and less.

It is found in squares, cellars, in houses, in low damp areas, close to the ground... All cities have brown rats.


Reaching sexual maturity in three months, the rat quickly forms a large family, living in a clan.

But it depends on access to food, and “90% to 95% of brown rats do not survive beyond a year”, reports the scientist.

Sleeping during the day, and emerging from the burrow at the end of the afternoon and at night, "the rats seen during the day are often younger, prevented from foraging by dominant rats, or because there are had external disturbances of their environment”.

Ineffective and dangerous poison baits

“There is no significant health risk linked to brown rats in French cities”, assures Christiane Denys.

To limit populations, it is better to remove food waste littering public spaces, close garbage cans, and clean streets and squares.

“Poisoned baits are totally ineffective, because the rats are developing resistance to anticoagulants, underlines the professor.

This resistance is already present in Paris and in many other French cities.

We can also, with these products, destroy other rodents, such as field mice and voles, which were there before the brown rat arrived”.

More in this podcast.

Good listening !

See you very soon for a new episode of our audio series "Animal" in the podcast "Summer in your ears".

Listen to this program on all applications and online listening platforms, such as Apple podcast, Spotify or Amazon Music for example.

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