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"An ordinary common or garden rat like this can’t be expected to live longer than three years or so. Now, if you were looking for something a bit more hard-wearing, you might like one of these —"
— A saleswoman in the Magical Menagerie, trying to sell a black rat to Ron Weasley[src]

Rats are small mammals of the order Rodentia, distinguishable from mice by their larger size.[3]

Description

Commonly found in houses and barns,[4] rats are typically regarded as vermin or pests, although they can be domesticated and kept as pets, as well as tested in labs. The most common species of pet rat is the Brown/Norway Rat, or Rattus norvegicus.[3]

Rats could also serve as pets for wizards and witches, although they typically only lived for two or three years, and were not as popular as owls or cats.[1]

Body parts from rats, such as the tail and spleen, were used as ingredients in potions, such as the Shrinking Solution.[5] According to Dragon Breeding for Pleasure and Profit, dead rats should be fed to dragons as a reward for good behaviour.[6] Despite this, after just a couple of weeks of growth, Rubeus Hagrid was feeding the young dragon Norberta (known at the time as "Norbert") dead rats by the crate.[7]

There existsed Transfiguration spells that could turn a teacup into a rat[8][9] and another to turn a small child into a rat.[10]

A rat was one possible corporeal form of the Patronus Charm.[11]

History

By 1926, the Magical Congress of the United States of America used Memorandum Rodentium, known as "rat memos", which were enchanted pieces of paper that would fold themselves into paper rats and scurry through a series of tubes to send the memo to the correct office, sometimes tearing each other to pieces in the process.[12]

During the 1989–1990 school year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Professor Sybill Trelawney taught sixth year Divination students about Myomancy, the branch of Divination involving rats and mice.[13]

Caged rats in the Magical Menagerie

The Weasley family kept a pet rat named "Scabbers" for twelve years, owned first by Percy Weasley and later by his younger brother Ron.[2] The fact that Scabbers managed to live for over twelve years greatly surpassed the life expectancy of an average rat, making people think that he was special. However, it was revealed in 1994 that Scabbers was actually an unregistered Animagus named Peter Pettigrew, also known as "Wormtail," who had gone into hiding after Lord Voldemort's disappearance in 1981.[14]

The Chamber of Secrets contained the skeletons of many dead rats that had been eaten by the Serpent of Slytherin, a Basilisk.[15]

After fleeing Britain following his exposure, Pettigrew made his way to Albania, where he heard from the rats living in the area of Voldemort's presence in the forest.[16]

The Magical Menagerie in Diagon Alley sells sleek black rats that can use their tails as skipping ropes. These may have had a longer lifespan than ordinary rats, as the clerk suggested them to Ron as "something a bit more hard-wearing" than a common garden rat.[1]

While hiding in a cave near Hogsmeade during the 1994–1995 school year, Sirius Black lived off of rats while keeping watch over his godson, Harry Potter, during the events of the Triwizard Tournament.[17]

Sirius regularly fed the Hippogriff Buckbeak dead rats while keeping him at Number 12 Grimmauld Place.[18]

Known types of Rats

Known Rat Animagi

Appearances

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Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 4 (The Leaky Cauldron)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 6 (The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Rat at Wikipeida
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
  5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 7 (The Boggart in the Wardrobe)
  6. Pottermore - Dragon Breeding for Pleasure and Profit
  7. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 14 (Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback)
  8. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 4 (The Keeper of the Keys)
  9. Harry Potter Trading Card Game
  10. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
  11. (see this image)
  12. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 23
  13. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 28 (Moving On) - Divination Lesson "Myomancy"
  14. 14.0 14.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 19 (The Servant of Lord Voldemort)
  15. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 16 (The Chamber of Secrets)
  16. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 33 (The Death Eaters)
  17. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 27 (Padfoot Returns)
  18. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 6 (The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black)
  19. 19.0 19.1 Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells
  20. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
  21. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
  22. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 18 (Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs)
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