Investigation: Rat Dissection

Most biology students dissect the frog their freshman or sophomore year.  Advanced students in anatomy or biology may dissect mammal specimens, like cats, minks, fetal pigs, and rats.   This set of lab guides provides instructions for dissecting a preserved rat.  Students start with the external anatomy, noting features of the rat such as whiskers and the nictitating membrane of the eye.  Students carefully skin the rat to reveal the major muscle groups and expose the hip joint and review the names of bones, diagrams of the rat skeleton and muscles are included.

The internal anatomy explores the digestive system, parts of the circulatory and excretory systems.   During the activity, students are required to use colored pins to indicate structure they are supposed to find.  Instructors can quickly check pins to ensure that students are staying on-task and identifying the correct organs.

Questions are included throughout the lab guide to help students with reading comprehension and reviewing functions of systems and organs.

View each page individually or download the entire Rat Dissection Guide:

Introduction to the Dissection of the Rat

External Anatomy, Muscles, Bones, Neck

Thoracic, and Abdominal Organs of the Rat

Urogenital System of the Rat

Circulatory System of the Rat

Rat Checklist and Dissection Rubric

Grade Level: 9-12
Time Required:  2-3 Hours

Download Google Doc

See also:  Rat Dissection Photo Gallery – contains images with labels to help students identify structures

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