Conservation status

The murine rats are one of the most hardy mammalian species. They reproduce often and in great numbers and are highly adaptable to many environments. However, there are a

A western chestnut mouse (Pseudomys nanus) foraging on the ground in northern Australia. (Photo by Tom McHugh/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)
A brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) contemplates a swim to shore. (Photo by Kim Taylor. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

few species that are in need of conservation action if they are to survive. Generalist species such as the black rat and brown rat are not imperiled, but certain rats, especially those endemic to island ecosystems, have faced habitat destruction by man and animals. A total of 18 species are on the verge of extinction and are classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN.

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