GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Black rat. Historical artwork of a black or house rat, Rattus rattus. Black rats seem to have been associated with humans from the earliest times. They are mainly nocturnal and live off plant material, although they will also eat meat or other animals. The black rat is the "plague rat" of the bubonic plagues, such as the Black Death of the Middle Ages. This plague is caused by bites from rat fleas infected by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. This artwork is taken from a book published in 1894.
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