3. “On certain changes in the Habits of Rats, at Raglan;” communicated in a letter from Captain Johnstone to Captain F. W. Hutton, was read by the Secretary.
“At this season of the year there is a sort of annual migration of rats, where there are uncultivated lands in the neighbourhood of houses. This year the migration is excessive, both in the country and in the village of Raglan.
“The habits of the rat have greatly changed since its introduction. It is amphibious. At low-water they go to eat shell fish on a rock near here, and when the tide rises swim back to the land. They have almost extirpated the delicious little cray-fish (Paranephrops), which twenty years ago were, as I well remember, plentiful in my creek. Even the fresh water mussels (Unio) are not safe from them, as they dive for them and open them on the bank. The climate is wet and the ground hard, so instead of burrows they make nests in trees and hedges. Some time ago, Mr. J. Graham of Raglan, showed me a perfect “rattery” in a thorn hedge in the village. There were from fifteen to twenty large nests, into which it was necessary to insert a pitchfork to eject the occupants, in order to show that they were not birds' nests.
“Te Haroto, Raglan, 4th May, 1870.”
Mr. Kirk remarked, that in addition to the Brown or Norway rat (Mus decumanus), another species which at present he had been unable to identify, was abundantly naturalized at Great Omaha; it was distinguished by its lighter colour, larger size, large round ears, and remarkably long tail. The two kinds were often trapped together, when the differences were at once noticed. There was some reason to suppose that the rat referred to by Captain Johnstone was not the ordinary form of the common Brown rat, but a strongly marked variety.