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Pronunciation: rat'us

Definition: The rats, a genus of rodents, family Muridae. Rattus rattus, the black r., is the species most commonly responsible for transmitting plague to humans by means of the flea, Xenopsylla cheopis; it is smaller and darker than the Norwegian, sewer, or brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) and has longer ears and tail.

See: rat

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© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.