Rats have been established to belong to the superfamily Muroidea. They are long tailed rodents, which have various sizes. Rats are distinguished from mice by virtue of their larger size.

The commonest rat species is the black rat or the rattus rattus. Male rate are called bucks, while female ones are called does. Pregnant and parent rats are called dams. In addition, the young are either called pups or kittens. A group of rats is referred to as either a mischief or pack.

Rats are usually opportunistic and thrive most when they are near humans. They are, therefore, usually referred to as commensals. They cause loss of food, especially in countries that are not well developed. Rats have also been known to carry many disease pathogens, some of which are deadly to humans. Some of the diseases that are linked to rats include the Black Death, foot and mouth disease and classical swine fever among others. Rats are used as carriers of these diseases and they often spread them to humans.

The lifespan of a rat will mainly depend on the species in question. However, due to predation, most rats live for only a year. In addition, since they are considered as pests by many people and cultures, they are often killed on site and many people do not allow the young ones to grow.

It should be noted that since the nineteenth century, some people have kept rats as pets. Rats that are kept as pets have been seen to survive longer than those that are kept in the wild. In addition, pet rats behave differently from rats in the wild, depending on how long they have been domesticated. Research has established that pet rats do not pose a health risk to their keepers and that they are as healthy as cat and dog pets. These rats can be tamed to perform selected behavior.

Subject of scientific research

For many years now, rats have been kept in laboratories and used as subjects of scientific research. They have been used in the study of drugs and their effects on human beings. Some laboratories have also used rats for psychological studies and learning other mental processes. They have also been used to understand group behavior and overcrowding.


It should be noted that in some cultures, rat meat is eaten, while in others it is a taboo. Taboos include fears that the meat might spread diseases, while in other instances, they are religious taboos. In some cultures, rats have been incorporated into the traditional diet. Odor and training Rats have been seen to be easy to train and they have also been established to have a keen sense of smell. As a result of their sense of smell and the fact that they are easy to train, some rats have been trained to detect landmines. Research has also shown that some rats have been trained to diagnose tuberculosis through smell.

Overall, there are so many rate species in the world, but the biggest number of them is regarded as pests.