Rats

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.

Rats are typically distinguished from mice by their size. Generally, when someone discovers a large muroid rodent, its common name includes the term rat, while if it is smaller, the name includes the term mouse. The muroid family is broad and complex, and the common terms rat and mouse are not taxonomically specific. Scientifically, the terms are not confined to members of the Rattus and Mus genera, for example, the pack rat and cotton mouse. In Wikipedia.

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.

Here is the taxonomy of rats according to ITIS:

  • 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
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