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The Black Rat (
An Francach Dubh)
Neither the Black rat nor the Brown rat is native to Ireland.  They were probably introduced by accident from passing sailing ships during the middle ages. The Black rat probably came from Asia and with the help of people on the move travelled across Europe eventually coming to Ireland.  So widespread are rats in Europe that it has been said that wherever a man is in Europe a rat is within 800 yards of him. The Black rat is very rare in Ireland but there have been discoveries of them in County Armagh, County Down in Northern Ireland and on Lambay Island, which is off the coast of County Dublin. They are found in buildings, barns, lofts, ships and stables. Rats likes to climb and jump and are mostly nocturnal (this means that they sleep during the day and go out at night).  The black Rat does not like to swim and tries to avoid it (like some boys in our class).The Black Rat breeds throughout the year and mainly give birth during the summer and autumn. They have three to five litters a year with about seven babies in each. A black rat has a tail longer than it’s body and his ears and they are longer and thinner than the brown rat. Although there black in colour mainly, the rats can be a mixture of black, brown and white in colour, which make sit very confusing to know which one you have seen. I saw a big rat once and I ran like hell. You hear some horror stories about rats and most people are afraid of them.

The black rat is omnivorous, which means that they eat food of both­­ animal and vegetable. They are not really fussy about what food they eat and in fact will eat anything. You will usually find a lot of them near town dumps. We have a dump here in Tramore, where the Council dump all the town rubbish. It is down near the beach. This is a stupid place to have a town dump, as all the plastic bags and rubbish blow on to the beach. This does not create a good impression to the visitors who come here on holidays. Some people want the dump moved but anytime the council suggest a new site, the people who live near there have a protest. Nobody wants a dump near them as it causes smells and above all rats and more rats and noisy lorries passing up and down. The dump should be moved but the question is “where do you move it to” as any place that is suggested everybody says “NO”. It really is a problem. 

I say, have you read the latest book by Roald Dahl called “A Rats Tail”. I haven’t read it yet but I hope to soon. All rats are clever and will learn quickly so there is still hope for all of us school children! Black tats are also carriers of disease. They have been blamed for the Black Death in the Middle Ages when whole towns were wiped out as a result of disease. People then were very dirty and threw their rubbish out on the street. Towns in the olden days were very unhealthy places as they were smelly and rats had a great time. The Black rat is not a problem here in Ireland as it is rare.

Adam Schneider