Do Rats Have Bones? [How Can They Fit Through Small Holes?]

Do rats have bones? At first glance, this seems like kind of a strange question, but it really isn’t. After all, how is it possible that rats are capable of maneuvering through such small spaces if they have bones? As a result of this, it’s commonly believed that rats do not have bones at all. I was curious about the truth of this matter, so I decided to investigate to provide you with a fact-based answer to this question.

If you’re the owner of a pet rat then I’m sure you’ve noticed that your rat friend is able to squeeze through almost any opening, when they do so they almost seem to move like an eel! Is this because they do not have bones, or do they simply have a very flexible skeleton that allows them to do this? Let’s find out.

The short of it is this: Rats, like all other mammals, do have bones. They have an internal skeleton made up of 223 bones. So the belief that they do not have bones is a myth. However, rats have very flexible ribs. They can fold their ribs like an umbrella, which allows them to squeeze through any hole that their head fits through. They are capable of squeezing through holes that are only 1 inch in size!

Rat skeleton (how many bones do rats have?)

Rats definitely do have an internal skeleton. In fact, despite their small size, rats have even more bones in their body than we humans do! They have a total of 223 bones in their body, 17 more than a human.

You don’t have to take my word for it, take a look at this photo of a rat skeleton below if you don’t believe me!

the skeleton of a rat

As you can see, they definitely do have bones (and a lot of them at that) in their bodies. Their bones protect their organs and provide support for their body. Without their bones, their entire body would collapse.

Do rats have bones in their tails?

One of the most common questions people have about rat bones is whether these rodents have bones in their tails. The answer is that they do! You can see on the image above that they have bones all throughout their tail. The rat’s tail is made up of a core layer of bones surrounded by tendons which are then covered by skin.

It’s also a common myth that rats do not have feeling in their tails. This is false, they can definitely feel it when their tail is being touched or hurt. In fact, their tail is quite sensitive and helps them regulate their temperature.

Do rats have backbones?

Yet another common myth is that rats do not have a spine. This is completely false, rats definitely do have a spine. The reason why people believe that they do not have backbones is because they’re able to fit through such small openings.

They are able to fit through these tiny openings not because they do not have a spine, but rather because their spine has evolved in such a way that it allows them to enter holes that are the size of their head.

Can rats fit through a pencil hole?

The smallest hole that a rat can fit through is about the size of a penny or about 1 inch. They are also capable of crawling under some doors! The reason why they are able to do this is because in the wild they spend a lot of their time underground.

They make tunnels to escape from predators, to access food, and to sleep. To navigate these tunnels it’s essential for them to have a very flexible skeleton so they have evolved to have just that! In addition, they do not have collarbones and very strong legs which all help them navigate through small holes.

However, pet rats are capable of getting stuck in tiny holes. The reason for this is not related to their skeleton, but rather the fact that pet rats are more often overweight than wild rats. Because of this, they misjudge their own size relative to the size of the hole they’re trying to squeeze through which can result in them getting stuck.

You might also be interested in: do rats have a bladder?

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