Different Types of Rats?

Rats are thin-tailed, medium-size rodents that originated in Asia and Australia but are now found all over the world. “True rats” are members of the genus Rattus, but other rodent genera are also referred to as rats and share many of the same characteristics. Rats differentiate from mice by being larger, with longer, thinner bodies and long legs.

They are typically 5 inches (12 centimeters), or longer, according to Encyclopedia Britannica . The largest species is the Bosavi woolly rat, which was discovered in 2009 in the rainforest of Papua New Guinea (and doesn’t have a scientific name yet).

It is about the size of a cat 32.2 inches (82 cm) from nose to tail and weighs around 3.3 lbs. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corp. , male rats are called bucks; females are does. Brown rats are usually led by the largest male in the pack.

House and brown rats usually use humans for their primary food source. Rats have also been known to eat grain or kill insects, water creatures such as snails, fish and mussels, small birds, mammals and reptiles for food. Before their offspring are born, rats build nests from any material that can be foraged from the area, including branches, grass, trash and paper.

These nests are usually built in crevices, in rotting trees or in buildings. After a gestation period of 21 to 26 days, babies that weigh only around 6 to 8 grams (.21 to .28 ounces) are born, according to the American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association. By the age of three months, the brown rat is ready to reproduce.

Most house rats 91 to 97 percent die within their first year of life, according to the University of Michigan . Kingdom: Animalia Subkingdom: Bilateria Infrakingdom: Deuterostomia Phylum: Chordata Subphylum: Vertebrata Infraphylum: Gnathostomata Superclass: Tetrapoda Class: Mammalia Subclass: Theria Infraclass: Eutheria Order: Rodentia Suborder: Myomorpha Superfamily: Muroidea Family: Muridae Subfamily: Murinae Genus: Rattus They are considered threatened with extinction due to loss of habitat and decreasing populations.

Brown and house rats have made a number of mammal, bird and reptile species extinct, especially on oceanic islands, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. In fact, according to the Foundation for Biomedical Research , 95 percent of all lab animals are mice and rats. A rats front teeth grow 4.5 to 5.5 in (11 to 14 cm) each year, according to Discover Magazine.

What are 3 types of rats?

NORWAY RAT (BROWN RAT).SHIP RAT (BLACK RAT or ROOF RAT).WOODRAT (PACKRAT).MARSH RICE RAT.

What are the most common rats?

The brown and the house rat are the most common rats in the world because they have taken boats to every country over the past few centuries. House rats typically like warmer climates, while brown rats live in temperate climates. They typically live anywhere humans live. Many rat species also live in trees.

What kinds of rats are there?

The 4 Most Common Types of Rats. Ship rats. Norway rats. Marsh rice rats. Woodrats.

Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents of the superfamily Muroidea. True rats are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans are the black rat (Rattus rattus), and the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus). Many members of other rodent genera and families are also referred to as rats, and share many characteristics with true rats.

In the United Kingdom, brown rats are an important reservoir for Coxiella burnetii, the bacterium that causes Q fever, with seroprevalence for the bacteria found to be as high as 53% in some wild populations. Therefore, for safety reasons, baits can be dyed distinctive colors without causing avoidance by rats, as long as the dye does not have an objectionable taste or odor.

Breeding often peaks in spring and fall, with reproductive activity declining during the heat of summer and often stopping completely in winter, depending on habitat. Black rats are considered omnivores and eat a wide range of foods, including seeds, fruit, stems, leaves, fungi, and a variety of invertebrates and vertebrates. They are generalists, and thus not very specific in their food preferences, which is indicated by their tendency to feed on any meal provided for cows, swine, chickens, cats, and dogs.

They are also a threat to many farmers, since they feed on a variety of agricultural-based crops, such as cereals, sugar cane, coconuts, cocoa, oranges, and coffee beans. A number of bacterial diseases are common to rats, and these include Streptococcus pneumoniae, Corynebacterium kutsheri, Bacillus piliformis, Pasteurella pneumotropica, and Streptobacillus moniliformis, to name a few. Ship rats spend a large amount of their time in trees, their arboreal nature allowing easy access to birds’ nests.

Getting into everything from attics to car engines, stealing their treasures, damaging electrical wiring, and creating general noisy havoc can easily cause them to become a nuisance. Dens are often built in small caves or rocky crevices, but when close by human habitations, woodrats will opportunistically move into the attics and walls of houses. These woodrats collect debris in natural crevices, and abandoned man-made structures when available, into large, quasistructures for which the archaeologists term midden has been borrowed.

The upperparts are generally gray to grayish brown, with the head a bit lighter, and are sharply delimited from the underparts, which are off-white, as are the feet. The stomach has the characteristic pattern of sigmodontines (unilocular-hemiglandular): it is not split in two chambers by an incisura angularis and the front part (antrum) is covered by a glandular epithelium. The marsh rice rat is the primary host of the Bayou virus (BAYV), the second most common agent of hantavirus infections in the United States.

Rats are some of the most common and formidable pests in the world damaging and contaminating food, structures and human health. Although people don’t usually see the actual rats, signs of their presence are relatively easy to identify. Two primary species of rats inhabit North American homes: the roof rat and the Norway rat.

While young rats can sometimes be mistaken for mice, they can be distinguished by their disproportionately long feet and oversized head. Both rodents are capable of chewing through hard, wooden surfaces, but rat teeth marks are much larger than those of mice.

Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents. Species of rats are found throughout the order Rodentia, but stereotypical rats are found in the genus Rattus. Other rat genera include Neotoma (pack rats), Bandicota (bandicoot rats) and Dipodomys (kangaroo rats).

The characteristic long tail of most rodents is a feature that has been extensively studied in various rat species models, which suggest three primary functions of this structure: thermoregulation , [11] minor proprioception , and a nocifensive -mediated degloving response. The tail is hairless and thin skinned but highly vascularized, thus allowing for efficient countercurrent heat exchange with the environment.

The high muscular and connective tissue densities of the tail, along with ample muscle attachment sites along its plentiful caudal vertebrae , facilitate specific proprioceptive senses to help orient the rodent in a three-dimensional environment. [ citation needed ] Murids have evolved a unique defense mechanism termed degloving that allows for escape from predation through the loss of the outermost integumentary layer on the tail. One study demonstrated a significant disparity in heat dissipation from a rat’s tail relative to its abdomen.

These findings were confirmed in a separate study analyzing the relationships of heat storage and mechanical efficiency in rodents that exercise in warm environments. As aforementioned, the tail demonstrates a high degree of muscularization and subsequent innervation that ostensibly collaborate in orienting the organism. [14] Specifically, this is accomplished by coordinated flexion and extension of tail muscles to produce slight shifts in the organism’s center of mass , orientation, etc., which ultimately assists it with achieving a state of proprioceptive balance in its environment.

Further mechanobiological investigations of the constituent tendons in the tail of the rat have identified multiple factors that influence how the organism navigates its environment with this structure. [15] Namely, cell viability tests of tendons of the rat’s tail demonstrate a higher proportion of living fibroblasts that produce the collagen for these fibers. The characteristic tail of murids also displays a unique defense mechanism known as degloving in which the outer layer of the integument can be detached in order to facilitate the animal’s escape from a predator.

This evolutionary selective pressure has persisted despite a multitude of pathologies that can manifest upon shedding part of the tail and exposing more interior elements to the environment. [16] Paramount among these are bacterial and viral infection, as the high density of vascular tissue within the tail becomes exposed upon avulsion or similar injury to the structure. Congenital malformation in selective breeding have created the dumbo rat, a popular pet choice due to their low, saucer-shaped ears.

The rat’s larynx has been used in experimentations that involve inhalation toxicity, allograft rejection, and irradiation responses. The second feature was that the way the newly named muscles appear to be familiar to those in the human larynx. They are calmer and less likely to bite; they can tolerate greater crowding; they breed earlier and produce more offspring; and their brains , livers , kidneys , adrenal glands , and hearts are smaller (Barnett 2002).

A 2015 study by the American Housing Survey (AHS) found that eighteen percent of homes in Philadelphia showed evidence of rodents. Chicago was declared the “rattiest city” in the US by the pest control company Orkin in 2020, for the sixth consecutive time. [41] To help combat the problem, a Chicago animal shelter has placed more than 1000 feral cats (sterilized and vaccinated) outside of homes and businesses since 2012, where they hunt and catch rats while also providing a deterrent simply by their presence.

[43][44] Rats will infest any area that provides shelter and easy access to sources of food and water, including under sinks, near garbage, and inside walls or cabinets. Rat-catching, 1823, by Edwin Landseer , engraving, published by Hurst, Robinson & Co.When introduced into locations where rats previously did not exist, they can wreak an enormous degree of environmental degradation . [49] Also known as the ship rat , it has been carried worldwide as a stowaway on seagoing vessels for millennia and has usually accompanied men to any new area visited or settled by human beings by sea.

The ship or wharf rat has contributed to the extinction of many species of wildlife, including birds, small mammals, reptiles, invertebrates, and plants, especially on islands. True rats are omnivorous , capable of eating a wide range of plant and animal foods, and have a very high birth rate . The only rat-free continent is Antarctica , which is too cold for rat survival outdoors, and its lack of human habitation does not provide buildings to shelter them from the weather.

However, rats have been introduced to many of the islands near Antarctica, and because of their destructive effect on native flora and fauna, efforts to eradicate them are ongoing. The South Georgia Heritage Trust, which organized the mission describes it as “five times larger than any other rodent eradication attempted worldwide”. [55] Immediately upon their arrival at the eastern border with Saskatchewan , the Alberta government implemented an extremely aggressive rat control program to stop them from advancing further.

Initially, tons of arsenic trioxide were spread around thousands of farm yards to poison rats, but soon after the program commenced the rodenticide and medical drug warfarin was introduced, which is much safer for people and more effective at killing rats than arsenic. Forceful government control measures, strong public support and enthusiastic citizen participation continue to keep rat infestations to a minimum. [57] The effectiveness has been aided by a similar but newer program in Saskatchewan which prevents rats from even reaching the Alberta border.

People born in this year are expected to possess qualities associated with rats, including creativity, intelligence, honesty, generosity, ambition, a quick temper and wastefulness. In the northwestern Indian city of Deshnoke , the rats at the Karni Mata Temple are held to be destined for reincarnation as Sadhus ( Hindu holy men). However, some people in European cultures keep rats as pets and conversely find them to be tame, clean, intelligent, and playful.

The term “lab rat” is used, typically in a self-effacing manner, to describe a person whose job function requires them to spend a majority of their work time engaged in bench-level research (such as postgraduate students in the sciences). Terminology Rats are frequently blamed for damaging food supplies and other goods, or spreading disease. Their reputation has carried into common parlance: in the English language , “rat” is often an insult or is generally used to signify an unscrupulous character; it is also used, as a synonym for the term nark , to mean an individual who works as a police informant or who has turned state’s evidence .

Writer/director Preston Sturges created the humorous alias “Ratskywatsky” for a soldier who seduced, impregnated, and abandoned the heroine of his 1944 film, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek . While the recordings may be of actual squeaking rats, the noise is uncommon they may do so only if distressed, hurt, or annoyed. Rats are also often cast in vicious and aggressive roles when in fact, their shyness helps keep them undiscovered for so long in an infested home.

White’s Charlotte’s Web , repeatedly reminds the other characters that he is only involved because it means more food for him, and the cellar-rat of John Masefield’s The Midnight Folk requires bribery to be of any assistance. A. Bertram Chandler pitted the space-bound protagonist of a long series of novels, Commodore Grimes, against giant, intelligent rats who took over several stellar systems and enslaved their human inhabitants. ” The Stainless Steel Rat ” is nickname of the (human) protagonist of a series of humorous science fictionnovels written by Harry Harrison .

This tale, traced to Germany around the late 13th century, has inspired adaptations in film, theatre, literature, and even opera. Furthermore, a linguistic phenomenon when a wh-expression drags with it an entire encompassing phrase to the front of the clause has been named pied-piping after “Pied Piper of Hamlin” (see also pied-piping with inversion ). ^ Aplin, Ken P.; Suzuki, Hitoshi; Chinen, Alejandro A.; Chesser, R. Terry; ten Have, Jos; Donnellan, Stephen C.; et al. (November 2011).

“Innervation and function of rat tail muscles for modeling cauda equina injury and repair”. ^ Gibbs RA et al.: Genome sequence of the Brown Norway rat yields insights into mammalian evolution.

Size

According to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) there are more than 60 species of rat, which means they come in all sizes. They are typically 5 inches (12 centimeters), or longer, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. The largest species is the Bosavi woolly rat, which was discovered in 2009 in the rainforest of Papua New Guinea (and doesn’t have a scientific name yet). It is about the size of a cat — 32.2 inches (82 cm) from nose to tail and weighs around 3.3 lbs. (1.5 kilograms), according to CNN. One of the smallest rats is Osgood’s Vietnamese rat. It is typically 5 to 7 inches (12 to 17 cm) long.According to the Australian Broadcasting Corp., male rats are called bucks; females are does. Infants are called pups or kittens. A group of rats is called a mischief.

Habitat

Rats are found all over the world. For example, the rice-field rat is found in Southeast Asia, the Australian swamp rat is found in Eastern Australia, and the Norway rat, also called brown rats, is found on every continent of the world except Antarctica, according to the Animal Diversity Web at the University of Michigan.The brown and the house rat are the most common rats in the world because they have taken boats to every country over the past few centuries. House rats typically like warmer climates, while brown rats live in temperate climates. They typically live anywhere humans live. Many rat species also live in trees.

Habits

Overall, rats live to forage and mate. Most rats are nocturnal, though the brown rat is often awake day or night.Rats usually stick together in groups called packs. New packs are formed when a male and female go off on their own and nest in an area that doesn’t already contain a pack. Brown rats are usually led by the largest male in the pack. Other rats may have several dominant males or females in a pack.

Diet

Rats are omnivores, but many prefer meat when they can get it. House and brown rats usually use humans for their primary food source. They will scavenge through trash or eat any food that is left unprotected.Rats have also been known to eat grain or kill insects, water creatures such as snails, fish and mussels, small birds, mammals and reptiles for food. Other rats, such as the Sulawesi white-tailed rat and Hoffman’s rat, prefer vegetarian fair such as seed and fruits, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

Offspring

Before their offspring are born, rats build nests from any material that can be foraged from the area, including branches, grass, trash and paper. These nests are usually built in crevices, in rotting trees or in buildings.Rats, generally, are baby-making machines. Female rats can mate around 500 times in a six-hour period and brown rats can produce up to 2,000 offspring in a year, according to Discover Magazine. Brown rats can have up to 22 young at once, though eight or nine is more the average. Tropical rats tend to only have one to six babies at once.After a gestation period of 21 to 26 days, babies that weigh only around 6 to 8 grams (.21 to .28 ounces) are born, according to the American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association. By the age of three months, the brown rat is ready to reproduce. Rats typically live around two or three years. Most house rats — 91 to 97 percent — die within their first year of life, according to the University of Michigan.

Different Types of Rat Species

Rats are some of the most common and formidable pests in the world — damaging and contaminating food, structures and human health. Although people don’t usually see the actual rats, signs of their presence are relatively easy to identify. Two primary species of rats inhabit North American homes: the roof rat and the Norway rat.Norway rats, sometimes called brown or sewer rats, are identifiable by their stocky, gray-brown bodies. Their tails are shorter than their body length and their ears and eyes are small relative to their body. Norway rats are larger than most other rat species. They burrow in gardens and fields, as well as beneath building foundations, trash or woodpiles. Norway rats line their nests with fibrous materials, such as shredded paper and cloth. These rats tend to inhabit the lower levels of buildings.Roof rats, sometimes called black rats, are superb climbers that tend to nest above ground. In the wild, roof rats inhabit shrubs, trees and dense vegetation. In domestic environments, they seek out secure, elevated places such as attics, walls, sheetrock ceilings and cabinets. They may enter homes through trees close to windows or eaves. As opposed to the Norway rat, roof rats tend to limit their geographical range to warmer climates often along the coast.Rats are generally larger than mice. While young rats can sometimes be mistaken for mice, they can be distinguished by their disproportionately long feet and oversized head. Both rodents are capable of chewing through hard, wooden surfaces, but rat teeth marks are much larger than those of mice.Rat or Muskrat + DifferencesWhat Does A Rat Look Like?Enemies and Predators of RatsResources

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Rat

Rats are typically distinguished from mice by their size. Usually the common name of a large muroid rodent will include the word “rat”, while a smaller muroid’s name will include “mouse”. The common terms

Species and description

The best-known rat species are the black rat (The termMale rats are calledThe common species are opportunistic survivors and often live with and near humans; therefore, they are known as commensals. They may cause substantial food losses, especially in developing countries.Wild rodents, including rats, can carry many different zoonotic pathogens, such asRats become sexually mature at age 6 weeks, but reach social maturity at about 5 to 6 months of age. The average lifespan of rats varies by species, but many only live about a year due to predation.The black and brown rats diverged from other Old World rats in the forests of Asia during the beginning of the Pleistocene.

Rat tails

The characteristic long tail of most rodents is a feature that has been extensively studied in various rat species models, which suggest three primary functions of this structure: thermoregulation,Multiple studies have explored the thermoregulatory capacity of rodent tails by subjecting test organisms to varying levels of physical activity and quantifying heat conduction via the animals’ tails. One study demonstrated a significant disparity in heat dissipation from a rat’s tail relative to its abdomen.On the other hand, the tail’s ability to function as a proprioceptive sensor and modulator has also been investigated. As aforementioned, the tail demonstrates a high degree of muscularization and subsequent innervation that ostensibly collaborate in orienting the organism.The characteristic tail of murids also displays a unique defense mechanism known as

As pets

Specially bred rats have been kept as pets at least since the late 19th century. Pet rats are typically variants of the species brown rat, but black rats and giant pouched rats are also sometimes kept. Pet rats behave differently from their wild counterparts depending on how many generations they have been kept as pets.Selective breeding has brought about different color and marking varieties in rats. Genetic mutations have also created different fur types, such as rex and hairless. Congenital malformation in selective breeding have created the dumbo rat, a popular pet choice due to their low, saucer-shaped ears.

As subjects for scientific research

In 1895, Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, established a population of domestic albino brown rats to study the effects of diet and for other physiological studies. Over the years, rats have been used in many experimental studies, adding to our understanding of genetics, diseases, the effects of drugs, and other topics that have provided a great benefit for the health and wellbeing of humankind.The aortic arches of the rat are among the most commonly studied in murine models due to marked anatomical homology to the human cardiovascular system.The rat’s larynx has been used in experimentations that involve inhalation toxicity, allograft rejection, and irradiation responses. One experiment described four features of the rat’s larynx. The first being the location and attachments of the thyroarytenoid muscle, the alar cricoarytenoid muscle, and the superior cricoarytenoid muscle, the other of the newly named muscle that ran from the arytenoid to a midline tubercle on the cricoid. The newly named muscles were not seen in the human larynx. In addition, the location and configuration of the laryngeal alar cartilage was described. The second feature was that the way the newly named muscles appear to be familiar to those in the human larynx. The third feature was that a clear understanding of how MEPs are distributed in each of the laryngeal muscles was helpful in understanding the effects of botulinum toxin injection. The MEPs in the posterior cricoarytenoid muscle, lateral cricoarytenoid muscle, cricothyroid muscle, and superior cricoarytenoid muscle were focused mostly at the midbelly. In addition, the medial thyroarytenoid muscle were focused at the midbelly while the lateral thyroarytenoid muscle MEPs were focused at the anterior third of the belly. The fourth and final feature that was cleared up was how the MEPs were distributed in the thyroarytenoid muscle.Laboratory rats have also proved valuable in psychological studies of learning and other mental processes (Barnett 2002), as well as to understand group behavior and overcrowding (with the work of John B. Calhoun on behavioral sink). A 2007 study found rats to possess metacognition, a mental ability previously only documented in humans and some primates.Domestic rats differ from wild rats in many ways. They are calmer and less likely to bite; they can tolerate greater crowding; they breed earlier and produce more offspring; and their brains, livers, kidneys, adrenal glands, and hearts are smaller (Barnett 2002).Brown rats are often used as model organisms for scientific research. Since the publication of the rat genome sequence,Entirely new breeds or “lines” of brown rats, such as the Wistar rat, have been bred for use in laboratories. Much of the genome of

General intelligence

Early studies found evidence both for and against measurable intelligence using the “g factor” in rats.

As food

Rat meat is a food that, while taboo in some cultures, is a dietary staple in others.

Working rats

Rats have been used as working animals. Tasks for working rats include the sniffing of gunpowder residue, demining, acting and animal-assisted therapy.

For odor detection

Rats have a keen sense of smell and are easy to train. These characteristics have been employed, for example, by the Belgian non-governmental organization APOPO, which trains rats (specifically African giant pouched rats) to detect landmines and diagnose tuberculosis through smell.

As pests

Rats have long been considered deadly pests. Once considered a modern myth, the rat flood in India occurs every fifty years, as armies of bamboo rats descend upon rural areas and devour everything in their path.Most urban areas battle rat infestations. A 2015 study by the American Housing Survey (AHS) found that eighteen percent of homes in Philadelphia showed evidence of rodents. Boston, New York City, and Washington, D.C., also demonstrated significant rodent infestations.Chicago was declared the “rattiest city” in the US by the pest control company Orkin in 2020, for the sixth consecutive time. It’s followed by Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC, and San Francisco.Rats have the ability to swim up sewer pipes into toilets.

As invasive species

Rats can serve as zoonotic vectors for certain pathogens and thus spread disease, such as bubonic plague, Lassa fever, leptospirosis, and Hantavirus infection.They are also associated with human dermatitis because they are frequently infested with blood feeding rodent mites such as the tropical rat mite (

Rat-free areas

Rats are found in nearly all areas of Earth which are inhabited by human beings. The only rat-free continent is Antarctica, which is too cold for rat survival outdoors, and its lack of human habitation does not provide buildings to shelter them from the weather. However, rats have been introduced to many of the islands near Antarctica, and because of their destructive effect on native flora and fauna, efforts to eradicate them are ongoing. In particular, Bird Island (just off rat-infested South Georgia Island), where breeding seabirds could be badly affected if rats were introduced, is subject to special measures and regularly monitored for rat invasions.As part of island restoration, some islands’ rat populations have been eradicated to protect or restore the ecology. Hawadax Island, Alaska was declared rat free after 229 years and Campbell Island, New Zealand after almost 200 years. Breaksea Island in New Zealand was declared rat free in 1988 after an eradication campaign based on a successful trial on the smaller Hawea Island nearby.In January 2015, an international “Rat Team” set sail from the Falkland Islands for the British Overseas Territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands on board a ship carrying three helicopters and 100 tons of rat poison with the objective of “reclaiming the island for its seabirds”. Rats have wiped out more than 90% of the seabirds on South Georgia, and the sponsors hope that once the rats are gone, it will regain its former status as home to the greatest concentration of seabirds in the world. The South Georgia Heritage Trust, which organized the mission describes it as “five times larger than any other rodent eradication attempted worldwide”.The Canadian province of Alberta is notable for being the largest inhabited area on Earth which is free ofAlberta was settled relatively late in North American history and only became a province in 1905. Black rats cannot survive in its climate at all, and brown rats must live near people and in their structures to survive the winters. There are numerous predators in Canada’s vast natural areas which will eat non-native rats, so it took until 1950 for invading rats to make their way over land from Eastern Canada.Forceful government control measures, strong public support and enthusiastic citizen participation continue to keep rat infestations to a minimum.

In culture

Ancient Romans did not generally differentiate between rats and mice, instead referring to the former asOn the Isle of Man, there is a taboo against the word “rat”.

Asian cultures

The rat (sometimes referred to as a mouse) is the first of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. People born in this year are expected to possess qualities associated with rats, including creativity, intelligence, honesty, generosity, ambition, a quick temper and wastefulness. People born in a year of the rat are said to get along well with “monkeys” and “dragons”, and to get along poorly with “horses”.In Indian tradition, rats are seen as the vehicle of Ganesha, and a rat’s statue is always found in a temple of Ganesh. In the northwestern Indian city of Deshnoke, the rats at the Karni Mata Temple are held to be destined for reincarnation as Sadhus (Hindu holy men). The attending priests feed milk and grain to the rats, of which the pilgrims also partake.

European cultures

European associations with the rat are generally negative. For instance, “Rats!” is used as a substitute for various vulgar interjections in the English language. These associations do not draw,Rats are often used in scientific experiments; animal rights activists allege the treatment of rats in this context is cruel. The term “lab rat” is used, typically in a self-effacing manner, to describe a person whose job function requires them to spend a majority of their work time engaged in bench-level research (such as postgraduate students in the sciences).

Terminology

Rats are frequently blamed for damaging food supplies and other goods, or spreading disease. Their reputation has carried into common parlance: in the English language, “rat” is often an insult or is generally used to signify an unscrupulous character; it is also used, as a synonym for the termAmong trade unions, the word “rat” is also a term for nonunion employers or breakers of union contracts, and this is why unions use inflatable rats.

Fiction

Depictions of rats in fiction are historically inaccurate and negative. The most common falsehood is the squeaking almost always heard in otherwise realistic portrayals (i.e. nonanthropomorphic). While the recordings may be of actual squeaking rats, the noise is uncommon – they may do so only if distressed, hurt, or annoyed. Normal vocalizations are very high-pitched, well outside the range of human hearing. Rats are also often cast in vicious and aggressive roles when in fact, their shyness helps keep them undiscovered for so long in an infested home.The actual portrayals of rats vary from negative to positive with a majority in the negative and ambiguous.Selfish helpfulness —those willing to help for a price— has also been attributed to fictional rats.By contrast, the rats appearing in the Doctor Dolittle books tend to be highly positive and likeable characters, many of whom tell their remarkable life stories in the Mouse and Rat Club established by the animal-loving doctor.Some fictional works use rats as the main characters. Notable examples include the society created by O’Brien’sIn Harry Turtledove’s science fiction novelWererats, therianthropic creatures able to take the shape of a rat,

The Pied Piper

One of the oldest and most historic stories about rats is “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”, in which a rat-catcher leads away an infestation with enchanted music.