Rats

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Topics: Rat
Rats are various medium sized rodents. "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, R. norvegicus. Many members of other rodent genera and families are also called rats and share many characteristics with true rats. A rat has an average life span of 2-3 years[1].

Rats are distinguished from mice by their size; rats generally have bodies longer than 12 cm (5 in).
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* 1 Species and description * 2 As pets * 3 As subjects of scientific research * 4 Laughter in rats * 5 As food * 6 In culture o 6.1 In Eastern cultures o 6.2 In Western cultures o 6.3 In religion o 6.4 In popular culture * 7 Taxonomy of Rattus o 7.1 Species of rats * 8 Further reading * 9 References and notes * 10 See also * 11 External links

[edit] Species and description

The best-known rat species are the Black Rat Rattus rattus and the Brown Rat R. norvegicus. The group is generally known as the Old World rats or true rats, and originated in Asia. Rats are bigger than most Old World mice, which are their relatives, but seldom weigh over 500 grams (1 lb) in the wild.

The term "rat" is also used in the names of other small mammals which are not true rats. Examples include the North American pack rats, a number of species loosely called kangaroo rats, and others. Rats such as the Bandicoot rat Bandicota bengalensis are murine rodents related to true rats, but are not members of the genus Rattus. The widely distributed and problematic commensal species of rats are a minority in this diverse genus. Many species of rats are island endemics and some have become endangered due to habitat loss or competition with the Brown, Black or Polynesian rat.

In Western countries, many people keep domesticated rats as pets. These are of the species R. norvegicus, which originated in the



References: 5. ^ Otto, John Solomon; Augustus Marion Burns III. (December 1983) Black Folks, and Poor Buckras: Archeological Evidence of Slave and Overseer Living Conditions on an Antebellum Plantation. Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 14, No. 2. pp. 185-200 6 7. ^ Mills, J. P. (January 1952) The Mishmis of the Lohit Valley, Assam. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 82, No. 1. pp. 1-12 8 9. ^ Kirch, Patrick V.; Sharyn Jones O 'Day. (February 2003) New Archaeological Insights into Food and Status: A Case Study from Pre-Contact Hawaii. World Archaeology, Vol. 34, No. 3. pp. 484-497 10 11. ^ Priest, Perry N. (October 1966) Provision for the Aged among the Sirionó Indians of Bolivia. American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 68, No. 5. pp. 1245-1247 12

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