Scientific Name of Rat

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Introduction to Scientific Name of Rat

To understand the scientific name of rat or what is the botanical name of rat, we need to know a little bit about living organisms and the need for classification of living organisms and the techniques that were used for naming them. There are some unique and distinctive characteristics that are shown by living organisms. These characteristics help us to differentiate between living and nonliving organisms. Characteristics like growth, reproduction and consciousness can contribute to differentiate between living and nonliving organisms. The living organisms are present in very large numbers so it was needed to classify them on some basics so that it becomes easy for us to study them. 

Diversity in the Living World

We will come back to our question of what is the scientific name of rat. But before that, we must know about the diverse nature of the world we all are living in. A large variety of living organisms such as herbs, shrubs, dogs, birds, insects are all seen around us. Also some bacteria, fungi, viruses are also present and we cannot see them with our naked eye. We need a microscope to see them. When we study different surroundings such as mountains, forests, oceans we find that there are vast varieties of living organisms present there and this is known as biodiversity. It is just the number and the various kinds of organisms that are found on the earth. It is responsible for the variability that is found among living organisms. This diversity differs from place to place and habitat to habitat. We have discovered lakhs of species and still, there are more than this number that is to be discovered. As the temperature and conditions vary from place to place, we have different types of organisms

Nomenclature and Identification

There are around 1.8 million species that are known according to the IUCN. IUCN is the International Union of Conser of Nature and Natural resources. And according to it still, there are millions of species that are yet to be discovered. The need for nomenclature will help us to answer our question of what is the scientific name of rat. Binomial nomenclature will let us answer our question of what is the scientific name for rat. 

Binomial Nomenclature

There are some codes and rules to which all the scientists of the world have agreed for assigning scientific names to newly discovered species. Carolus Linnaeus developed this system. This system helps us to provide distinct and proper scientific names to a variety of organisms. The rules are written below:

  • The biological names are generally taken from the Latin language without considering their place of origin. Thus, the newly assigned names are Latinised.

  • The name of each organism consists of two words. The first name represents the genus of the organism whereas the second word represents the species of the organism. 

  • The scientific name when printed is done in italics and when it is handwritten then it is underlined. 

  • The name of the author or the person who discovered it is written after the name in abbreviated form. 

  • These all three words together are known as a binomial epithet.

  • This nomenclature is followed to get to our answer to what is the scientific name for rat. 


From the above system of nomenclature which we read, the scientific name of rat is Rattus. Rattus is the name of the genus to which rats belong. As there are many species of rats, so in accordance with their species name, different biological names of rats can be derived. But the genus name remains constant here. The rats belong to the rodent family and are longer than 5 inches. The species of black rats is known as Rattus rattus. They belong to Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Chordata, Class Mammalia and Order Rodentia. They are generally bigger than mice and this is what discriminates them from mice. 

The common species of these rats are found to live with humans and thus they are known as commensals. In developing countries, they are responsible for food losses. Some species of rats have become endangered as they are limited to the islands. These rats are also responsible for carrying out several pathogens like Leptospira and Toxoplasma gondii. Rats are also used in scientific research. Various types of genes are inserted and tested. This all answers our question of what is the scientific name of rat. 

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Need for Classification

After getting our answer for what is the scientific name for rat, one more question arises that why do we need classification? So, the answer is that we need some tool to categorize such a huge variety of animal and plant species. As there are different types of creatures present, so it will be impossible for us to today about all of them in our entire lifetime. Hence, to make our studies easier we have made this system of classification which is easy to study and understand. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What do you know about rat tails?

The rodents have a characteristic long tail feature. The three primary features of this structure are thermoregulation, proprioception and a nocifensive-mediated degloving response. Their tail is highly vascularized and is hairless. Some rats like lizards can detach their tails and run to escape from predators. Due to high vascularity in the tail, they can withstand high temperatures.

2. How can rats be used as pets?

Brown and black rats can be used as pets. They behave differently from their wild counterparts. Pet rats do not possess health risks as much as dogs and cats. They can be tamed to perform selected behaviours. Due to selective breeding techniques, they can be available in different colours. There are rat shows also organised around the world where we can perform by our pet rats.

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