Rat Dissection

Source: Biology Online

This Wednesday afternoon we will be dissecting laboratory rats, which are specially bred for┬áscientific purposes. This practical exercise is optional, but an excellent way to gain scientific skills of careful observation, identification of body parts and an understanding of the structure and function of the digestive system of mammals. If you plan to continue your science education at university, you will find this a valuable introduction to laboratory dissections. Make sure you read the practical instructions thoroughly, work slowly and carefully and document your progress with video or a digital camera. Remember that ‘dissection’ does not mean ‘to cut up’, it means ‘to expose to view’ – once something has been cut, it can’t be undone, so know what organ or tissue you are cutting and why.

Rat Dissection – Part 1: Exposing the Abdomen

Rat Dissection – Part 2: The Digestive System (Warning – graphic images)

Rat Dissection – Part 3: Identifying the organs of digestion.

What did you learn about dissection and the digestive system of a mammal? Compared to the length of the rat, how long was it’s alimentary canal? What was the difference in the wall of the stomach and the small intestine? What did you notice about the contents of the alimentary canal as they moved towards the rectum? What surprised you most about the inside of a rat?

Procedure for rat dissection.

Classification of the rat and glossary of terms (dorsal, ventral, thoracic etc.)

Check out Miss Baker’s Biology Blog, “Extreme Biology” for a video of a dogfish shark dissection.

4 thoughts on “Rat Dissection

  1. Billie-Paige

    I was surprised at the size of the small intestines. They were huge as. I thought it was a bit gross so i didnt actually do they disection i just watched it.

  2. Amy

    i have learnt that my rats rib cage was incredibly hard to cut through, nearly impossible for little kelly in my team ­čÖé

  3. Chloe

    when we disected the rats i got to look at the digestive system up close. we learnt aout the different linnings of the stomach and small intestine and how they helped with the roles of their digestion. i also learnt that the rats small intestine was 4.45 times its body length!

  4. Nikky

    When we disected the rat we got to look at the digestive systen. We got to see how the digestive system sat inside the rat, including where all other organs were. It was really interesting to see the size, shape and texture of all the digestive organs.

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