Chapter 30 – Wild and Black Rats, pp. 865-875

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Suckow MA, Weisbroth SH, Franklin CL, eds. 2006. The Laboratory Rat, 2nd ed. Elsevier Academic Press, San Diego, CA.

Chapter 30 – Wild and Black Rats, pp. 865-875


1. Match the following wild rodents with the diseases they model:

a. Sand rat 1. Diabetes, diabetic complications

b. Psammomys obesus 2. Pathogenesis of human respiratory viruses

c. Cotton rat 3. Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and diabetes

2. T/F Use of direct bedding and nesting material should be avoided with wild rodents.

3. Group housing wild-caught rats

a. Is imperative.

b. Should always be avoided.

c. Should only be done in pairs.

d. May lead to aggression.

4. T/F Secondary containment systems are a good idea when opening the cages of many wild rats since they often jump, constituting a major escape hazard.

5. Which of the following statements is false?

a. Whole body anesthetic induction chambers require extensive manipulation in transferring the animal to the chamber.

b. Shoebox cage plastic lids can be adapted to make the home cage into an anesthetic induction chamber.

c. Inhalant systems using isoflurane allow for the rapid and safe induction of


d. Induction systems can be made that eliminate the need to handle fractious animals.

6. T/F All wild-caught rodents should be treated as potential zoonotic hazards.

7. Give the scientific name of the Norway Rat.

8. The body weigh range for wild-caught Brown Norway rats is

a. 100-200g.

b. 200-500g

c. 500-700g

d. 700-1000g

9. Which of the following is not one of the most common uses of wild-caught Norway rats?

a. Monitoring environmental contamination

b. Assessment of potential reservoirs of zoonotic diseases

c. Testing rodenticides / pest control mechanisms

d. Treatment of osteoporosis

10. Wild Brown Norway rats are potential reservoirs for which of the following parasites?

a. Leishmania, Schistosoma

b. Toxoplasma

c. Capillaria, Paragonimus

d. Strongyloides, Angiostrongylus

e. All of the above

11. T/F Wild Brown Norway rats can act as reservoirs for hepatitis virus.

12. Which of the following is false about behavior studies in Brown Norway rats?

a. Area of active study

b. Focused on determining central control over defense mechanisms

c. Focused on understanding the abnormal behavior in wild rats

d. May lead to devising effective mechanisms of population control

13. Give the scientific name of the black rat.

14. Which of the following is true about the black rat?

a. Also known as the roof rat

b. Found in cold to temperate climates

c. Used extensively in biomedical research in the US

d. Found primarily along the northeast coast of the US

15. Which of the following is false about the black rat?

a. Used in the study of pest control

b. Infest shipyards, causing economic loss

c. Used to study the mechanism of warfarin resistance

d. Used to study the use of predator odors as attractants

16. Give the scientific name of the Polynesian rat.

17. Which of the following is false about the Polynesian rat?

a. Commonly used in biomedical research

b. Also known as the Burmese house rat

c. Primarily found in equatorial Pacific islands

d. Body weight: 70-150 g

e. None of the above

18. Give the scientific name of the Tree rat.

19. Which of the following is true about the tree rat?

a. Body weight: 55-65 g

b. Used as a propagation host for Plasmodium spp.

c. Used in studies of chromosomal variability

d. All of the above

e. None of the above

20. Give the scientific name of the Multimammate rat.

21. The multimammate rat was previously included in the genus

a. Mus

b. Rattus

c. Sigmodon

d. Phodopus

22. Which of the following is true about the multimammate rat?

a. Also known as the multimammate mouse

b. Large bodied

c. No inbred strains available

d. All of the above

e. None of the above

23. T/F The multimammate rat is an important model of gastric neoplasia, but is a poor model for other neoplasias.

24. T/F Spontaneous gastric carcinoid formation in the multimammate rat can be greatly accelerated by H2 blockade or administration of proton pump inhibitors, resulting in an acid-inhibition-induced hypergastrinemia.

25. _________ has been used to experimentally induce keratoacanthomas and squamous cell carcinomas in Mastomys.

a. Herpesvirus

b. Papillomavirus

c. Polyoma virus

d. Pox virus

26. T/F Mastomys are more susceptible to parvoviral disease than standard laboratory rats.

27. T/F Mastomys are more susceptible to the hepatotoxic effects of aflatoxins and the nephrotoxic effects of mercury II chloride.

28. Which of the following is false about anatomic peculiarities in multimammate rats?

a. Both males and females have a well-developed prostate gland.

b. Submaxillary salivary gland is a poor natural source of nerve growth factor.

c. MWC strain females have a unique adrenal border zone between the zona fasciculate and the zona reticularis.

d. MCC strain has lysosomal glycolipid storage within renal proximal tubular epithelium.

29. Give the scientific name of the cotton rat.

30. Which of the following is false concerning the cotton rat?

a. Family Cricetidae

b. Significant karyotypic differences between species

c. Body weight 90-200 g

d. None of the above

e. All of the above

31. T/F Cotton rats are a gentle, docile species.

32. T/F For many years, the cotton rat was the only rodent identified that developed paralytic disease after experimental polio infection and was thus used extensively in polio research.

33. ______ is an endogenous pathogen of the cotton rat, leading to the rat’s use in the investigation of filarial-host interactions and development of therapeutic modalities.

a. Litomosoides carinii

b. Pneumocystic carinii

c. Strongyloides ransomi

d. Plasmodium vivax

34. T/F Cotton rats are no longer considered acceptable for use in studies of respiratory viral pathogenesis and use of viral agents as vectors of gene therapy.

35. T/F Cotton rats are considered better models of herpes simplex virus type 1 infection and latency than mice.

36. Give the scientific name of the wood rat.

37. Which of the following is false in regards to the wood rat?

a. Also known as pack rats

b. Also known as trade rats

c. Family Cricetidae

d. Significantly smaller than cotton rats

e. Native to North America

38. T/F Wood rats may be reservoirs for arenavirus infections and for Lyme disease.

39. T/F Incisors of nursing wood rat pups splay outward for the first 2 weeks of life.

40. Give the scientific name of the cane rat.

41. Which of the following is false in regards to the cane rat?

a. Family Cricetidae

b. More appropriately called the cane mouse or grasscutter

c. Native to South and Central America

d. Have a combination of phenotypic characteristics found in mice, rats, and hamsters

e. Average body weight ~100 g or less

42. Urinary and fecal output of cane rats is similar to that of gerbils, so cages can be changed and cleaned once every

a. 1-2 days

b. 3-5 days

c. 7-14 days

d. 21-28 days

43. T/F Cane rats are a natural reservoir for Guanarito virus (cause of Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever in humans), and the virus is highly pathogenic in this species.

44. T/F Wild-caught cane rats are particularly sensitive to stress-induced self-mutilation.

45. Give the scientific name of the rice rat.

46. Rice rats are native to

a. North America

b. South America

c. Africa

d. Asia

e. Australia

47. T/F Rice rats spontaneously develop periodontal disease, but feeding a high sucrose diet actually slows disease progression.

48. Match the following.

a. Oryzomys palustris 1. Long-tailed rice rat

b. Oryzomys lognicaudatus 2. Marsh rat

c. Oryzomys flavescens 3. Yellow pigmy rice rat

49. T/F Rice rats appear to be the main reservoir host for hantavirus in several South American countries.

50. Give the scientific name of the climbing rat.

51. Give the scientific name of the African white-tailed rat.

52. T/F Female white-tailed rats have a rudimentary prostate gland.

53. T/F White tailed-rats are used in the research of spontaneous diabetes mellitus because they develop most of the classic characteristics of the disease but do not become obese.

54. Give the scientific name of the sand rat.

55. The sand rat

a. Is in the same subfamily as the gerbil.

b. Poorly adapt to the laboratory environment.

c. Prefer to be housed in large groups.

d. All of the above

e. None of the above

56. Which of the following is false about the sand rat’s physiology and use as a model for spontaneous diabetes?

a. The sand rat has a natural state of high-energy metabolism that shifts to a diabetic-prone state when a low-energy diet is fed.

b. P. obesus is a model of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (adult-onset type II diabetes)

c. Diabetic syndrome in sand rats is characterized by hyperinsulinema with rebound hypoinsulinemia.

d. Adult rats can spontaneously develop diabetes when fed standard laboratory diet.

e. Diabetic syndrome in sand rats can eventually lead to insulin resistance and obesity.

57. T/F Aged sand rats are a well-characterized, reliable model of degenerative disc disease.

58. Sand rats have been used to study which of the following?

a. Otic cholesteatoma

b. Dental abnormalities

c. Mïllerian mixed tumors

d. All of the above

e. None of the above

59. Give the scientific name of the kangaroo rat.

60. Match:

a. D. merriami 1. Desert kangaroo rat

b. D. spectabilis 2. Merriam’s kangaroo rat

c. D. ordii 3. Ord’s kangaroo rat

d. D. deserti 4. Banner-tailed kangaroo rat

61. Which of the above listed species of kangaroo rat are most commonly used in biomedical research?

62. T/F Though the kangaroo rat is a desert animal, it lacks a water conservation system, making them need to drink water constantly in the wild or face dehydration.

63. Kangaroo rats

a. Should never be scruffed

b. Have external cheek pouches to store food

c. Have extremely short tails

d. Have an average litter size of 20

64. Kangaroo rats have been used to study which of the following?

a. Water conservation and kidney physiology

b. Thyroxine-induced basal metabolism

c. Decompression sickness

d. All of the above

e. None of the above

65. Give the scientific name of the degu.

66. Degus

a. poorly adapt to research laboratories .

b. reject any new animals introduced into their social group.

c. are found in the wild in the Andes Mountains of Chile.

d. should never be given supplemental feed.

67. Which of the following is false in regards to degus?

a. Long gestation period (90 days)

b. Precocious young

c. Induced ovulators

d. Can have up to 6 litters per year

e. All of the above

68. T/F Obesity is likely to occur if degus are fed a commercial rodent diet ad libitum.

69. Degus have been used to study

a. Circadian rhythm patterns and sleep behavior.

b. Hepatic drug metabolism and resistance.

c. Neurological behavior of offspring in response to maternal vocalizations.

d. Labyrinthine hemomonochorial placenta (as a model for the human placenta).

e. All of the above

70. T/F Degus have a natural resistance to morphine and a greater tolerance to pentobarbital compared with that of other rodents due to higher levels of mixed function oxidases and cytochrome P-450 in hepatic microsomes.


1. a-3, b-1, c-2

2. F – Direct bedding allows natural burrowing behavior, and nesting material provides security and comfort by enhancing the rats’ ability to conceal themselves.

3. d.

4. T

5. a. – Minimal manipulation required

6. T

7. Rattus norvegicus

8. b.

9. d.

10. e.

11. T

12. c. – Normal behavior

13. Rattus rattus

14. a.

15. d. – Repellants

16. Rattus exulans

17. a. – Rarely used

18. Thamnomys surdaster

19. d.

20. Mastomys [Praomys] coucha or natalensis

21. b.

22. a.

23. F – Can be a model for other types of neoplasia

24. T

25. b.

26. T

27. F – More resistant

28. b.

29. Sigmodon hispidus

30. d.

31. F – Often jump and bite

32. T

33. a.

34. F – Those are currently the most common biomedical uses.

35. T

36. Neotoma spp.

37. d – Significantly larger than cotton rats

38. T

39. T

40. Zygodontomys brevicauda

41. b.

42. c.

43. F – Non-pathogenic

44. T

45. Oryzomys spp.

46. b.

47. F – Accelerates disease progression

48. a-2, b-1, c-3

49. T

50. Tylomys nudicaudus

51. Mystromys albicaudatus

52. T

53. T

54. Psammomys obesus

55. a.

56. a. – Natural low-energy metabolism that has shifts when feeding a standard or high-energy diet

57. T

58. d.

59. Dipodomys spp.

60. a-2, b-4, c-3, d-1

61. D. merriami and D. spectabilis

62. F – Kangaroo rats have an incredible water conservation system allowing them to gain most of their water from their diet, and they rarely drink water in the wild if freely accessible.

63. b.

64. d.

65. Octodon degus

66. c.

67. d.

68. T

69. e.

70. T

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