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.
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- There are so many different roles that the rat plays in human life. When it is an object of admiration it is usually in, say, the show cage at an exhibition, or in a laboratory cage (where is has often been described as a hero/heroine or martyr to science). In the wild, or in the margins of human life, the rat is commonly loathed, the object of vermin control. Either way, one could say that it loses.
- Rat by Jonathan Burt
- Rats and mice are not generally regarded as pets, but as pests; they have few defenders. Yet the pain a rat or a mouse feels is every bit as real as that of any pet. In laboratories, they suffer, as anybody who has heard them moan, cry, whimper and even scream knows. The experimenters dissimulate about this by insisting that they are merely vocalising.
- Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy, When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals (London: Vintage, 1996. ISBN 0-09-947891-9), Conclusion, p. 217.