Virtual Rat Dissection

Rat External Anatomy

Step 1: Obtain a rat. Rats are ordered from biological supply companies. They come stored in a preserving fluid, either in bags or in a bucket. You will use latex (or similar) gloves when handling your rat and safety goggles are required to protect your eye from chemical splattering or debris.

rats in bucket

These rats are stored in "carosafe" a chemical that keeps them preserved. Over time, rats stored in buckets become bloated with the chemical, use caution when opening the body cavity of these rats as the chemical is prone to spray and splatter. Once an incision is made, the rats can be drained of fluid.

Place your rat in a dissecting tray and examine the external features. The rat (and all vertebrates) has anatomical regions to help locate structures.

cranial region – head  |  cervical region – neck
pectoral region - area where front legs attach
thoracic region - chest area | abdomen - belly
pelvic region - area where the back legs attach    

rat regions

Go to Step 2: External Features