One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A rat with dark fur, large ears, and a long tail. It is found throughout the world, being particularly common in the tropics, and is the chief host of the plague-transmitting flea.
Rattus rattus, family MuridaeAlso called roof rat
- ‘What was worse, he turned his head and found a black rat and a white rat biting energetically into the trunk of the plum tree.’
- ‘The plague likely spread to Europe on the backs of shipboard black rats that carried plague-infested fleas.’
- ‘The reptile house will become the mouse house, home to all kinds of rodents including black rats.’
- ‘The bats thrived there as recently as 1962 or 1963, until the arrival of black rats aboard fishing vessels.’
- ‘The small animals we call rats come in two types, the black rat and the Norway rat, and they have lived with man throughout history.’
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