The comic follows Dr. Benjamin "Ben" Rat and his family practice, with largely a Slice of Life theme. Events in the comic suggests it is located in the vicinity of Melbourne. It shows his interaction with his various patients. Since they are also different species of animals, this can be a source for much of its comedic fodder. There is also plenty of Australian humor, doctor humor, and dealings with Australia's Medicare universal healthcare system.
The main character is, obviously, a rat. The other main characters are Mary Scamper, his rabbit nurse, and Gizelle Thompson, his gazelle receptionist. There is also a rogue's gallery of regular patients which include koalas, numbats, kangaroos and a camel. Recently he married Danielle Hood, also a rat, who was previously his dentist and taekwondo instructor. Also listed is the local pharmacist, gorilla Phil Krubnuckle, though he's not featured as often.
Jenner created Doc Rat in the 1990s and drew one-offs in various Australian medical journals as requested. He created the organized web comic in 2006.
NOTE: The comic's website was recently rebuilt, and currently the archives are MIA. Many of the links in this trope page will be broken. A team is prepared to administer needed Wiki Magic Love the moment the archives return.update
This webcomic contains examples of:
- All a Part of the Job: CPR, rescheduling patients. . . .
- Androcles' Lion: They don't try it on Charmane, despite the thorn in the paw.
- Bad Dreams: Pippie.
- Bad Liar: Ben's whiskers twitch when he lies. The bigger the lie, the more his whiskers twitch, as demonstrated here
- Be Careful What You Wish For: The paramedics solemnly invoke this over a heart attack.
- Benedict Cumberbatch: A rabbit expy of him is pulled up when Jarrad and a friend look up "the greatest detective". Makes sense, since he stars in Sherlock.
- Bilingual Bonus: Flopsy the wolf's surname is Jaegermond, German for 'hunter's moon'.
- Boss alpha Blutenstein's name means "bloodstone". Could be a Meaningful Name, referring to how his plan to stop the hunting of intelligent beings takes a lot of effort, i.e. "like trying to get blood from a stone".
- Call-Back: Wilbur Fuzz's haemorrhoids, which caused his near-fatal heart attack long before, come back. At least he saw Doc Rat immediately this time.Doc Rat: And you didn't want to sit it out?
Wilbur: Doc, I couldn't sit it out!
- Calling the Old Man Out: Jarrad, age 7, to his mother after she finally goes too far with her homophobic attacks on Julian, the man who just saved Jarrad's life:
- Camp Gay: Pat, a dog, one of his patients. Not only pretty flamboyant, but also very nosy. Julian's boyfriend is more than a little campy as well. Pat's partner (also named Pat) on the other hand is a rather Manly Gay Ducati-racing tiger. And florist.
- Captain Superhero: Captain Kerpow.
- Carnivore Confusion: Not central but present on a few strips. Follows a less brutal variation of Kevin & Kell rules.
- The Chessmaster: Lord Lockley is one of the rare (more or less) heroic examples. He expertly manipulates a whole lot of characters into doing exactly what he wants without apparent effort on his part. And to really drive the point home, he does play chess and uses chess metaphors a few times.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Remember when the strip was just puns about medical conditions? That was quite a while ago.
- Cerebus Rollercoaster: It periodically has a new batch of pun-based "gag of the day" strips between story arcs.
- Cool Car/Cool Bike: Pat the Dog and Pat the Tiger share a love for fast conveyances. And Ben has experienced both.
- Cool Old Lady: Mavis the Koala and Lily Dryandra have their moments, but the overall prize goes to Lorna Lappin. Sassy, doesn't take any crap from anybody, rabbit Elder...and rather nasty with that cane of hers.
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: According to Jenner, the appearance and mannerisms of Boss Alpha Blutenstein are at least somewhat based on BRIAN BLESSED.
- CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: In one arc in 2009, one of his patients, bear Wilbur Fuzz, has a heart attack in his office.
- "Reliable" part is averted: Ben and Mary do CPR on him for eight minutes until paramedics arrive to defibrillate him.
- Crapsack World: Where Kevin & Kell plays the concept of predating other sentient furries for laughs, this one plays it for drama. And it's become a major unfunny plot point.
- Crush Blush: Once while flirting with Danielle.
- Crying Wolf: Wilbur Fuzz feigned heart attacks to get emergency attention. Eventually, he actually has one. The paramedics who take him to the hospital—who happen to actually be wolves—even lampshade it.Wilbur: After all my jokes... I called a wolf just one too many time.
Paramedic: ...and we came. Mate, Be Careful What You Wish For.
- Dark Secret: Keeping from your girlfriend that you're married.details
- There's also Blutenstein's son faking his own death to help his dad and Lockley get peace between wolves and rabbits. Apparently, Quarrydog knows.
- Depraved Dentist: After Ben and Danni are in a relationship, Danni is forced to stop being Ben's Dentist. So she sends him to her associate, Doctor Bell - who happens to be an Anglerfish! See here
- Dirty Business: When Allan the security guard hits, and kills, the poisonous snake.
- Doctor's Orders: About travelsocks.
- Everything's Better with Sparkles: Even packaging
- The Extremist Was Right: Lockley's justification for manipulating everyone and risking innocent lives in the process.
- Extreme Omni-Goat: Nichaud the baby goat - but not her mom.
- Fur Is Clothing, Fur Is Skin: Averted. Fur is just hair. In every way.
- Furry Reminder: The source of much of the strip's humour.
- Heart Warming Orphan: Pippie
- High-Class Glass: Lord Lockley wears one. Comes with being very high up in the rabbit hierarchy and living in a huge mansion.
- Hope Is Scary: Hope hurts!
- The Insomniac: See Zombie Apocalypse
- Interspecies Romance: Flopsy (wolf) and Jazmyn (rabbit), something of a big deal considering wolves normally eat rabbits and Flopsy ate Jaz's ex-husband.
- Interrupted Suicide: After Flopsy's big secret comes to light ( He and his pack ate Jaz' first husband) he tries to throw himself off a cliff. Ben isn't having any of that.
- Lame Pun Reaction: With several cast regulars (particularly Ben himself and recurring patient Mr. Fuzz) being notable Pungeon Masters, every now and then you get one so bad even the other characters acknowledge its lameness.
- Love Hurts: So do martial arts.
- Ludicrous Gibs: When watching a Horror film, Ben quips, "Huh. Nobody's got an artery there."
- Magic Genetics: Largely averted, until a rabbit and wolf apparently conceive. They regard it a miracle.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: Rabbits. Rats. Other creatures. And yet, they've got nothing on flies. (Has a tragic side, too.)
- Mistaken for Afterlife: Doc himself, in the dojo.
- Moral Myopia: Carnivores.
- Never Trust a Hair Tonic: Mr Pigg complains to the chemist that the tonic he'd purchased which promised to "add body to your hair" caused him to sprout hair everywhere. Turned out he'd read the label upside down; it actually said "adds hair to your body".
- Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: Averted by Julian.
- Nobody Poops: Averted here.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The real name of "Pat the Tiger" is Ravi Patel. Jenner later disclaimed that there is no connection to the American actor of the same name.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: They haunt orphans.
- Papa Wolf: Flopsy, literally. Two of his stepkids got eaten by a fox. He broke the offending vulpine's legs and then paid for his medical treatment.
- The Problem with Pen Island: The demographic site IRateCustomers.com isn't as positive as hoped.
- Pungeon Master: A common trait among the cast. Just about anybody, from main characters to one-scene extras, will launch into a Hurricane of Puns if given the opportunity, but the most egregious example has to be waiting room regular Mr. Fuzz. His constant punning is so awful even Ben, no slouch in the pun department himself, can't take it.
- Punny Name: Many. Some even get commented-on in-universe, such as recurring extras Pat the Dog and Pat the Tiger.
- According to the cast page, Pat's real name is "Pat O'Kake".
- Ben's receptionist is a Thompson's gazelle named Gizelle Thompson.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: When the Black Saturday bushfires occurred in 2009, Jenner incorporated them into the plot with one of his patients adopting an orphaned niece.
- Second Super-Identity: Captain Kerpow's secret identity is Awesome Possum, another crimefigher.
- Serious Business: Played with. "Secret Bunny Business" is initially set up as a running joke following this trope (with Ben thinking it's all about rabbits taking their sex lives way too seriously) but turns out to actually be very, very serious business indeed that ties strongly into several of the strip's more dramatic storylines.
- Sexy Discretion Shot: Repeatedly, since the strip often deals with adult themes but tries very hard to remain safe-for-work.
- Doc and Danielle's first time together. After Danielle makes her intentions clear, the next strip shows nothing but two rat tails forming a heart shape.
- On their honeymoon, the scene switches from the couple drinking Nettlefrisk Tea (implied to be a very strong aphrodisiac) to them lying next to each other, utterly exhausted.
- To Kevin & Kell here, as part of the Magic Genetics incident.
- Julian Sands's name may be a Shout-Out to Julian & Sandy, making it a Meaningful Name.
- Readers have thought that it could be to the actor◊, but the author says he hadn't heard of the actor when naming the character.
- To Astérix in this scene. Not only is the brawl very reminiscent of the gauls' usual amusements, two of the characters are clearly channeling Fulliautomatix and Cacofonix there.
- Simon the teenage wolf's new Pack Name is "Quarrydog"...a double reference to The Beatles: Before they settled on their final band name, they were known for a while as first "The Quarrymen" and then "Johnny and the Moondogs". It gets a lampshade hung on it by Simon himself who notes that "it sounds like a rock group".
- Species Surname: In some cases (e.g., Doc himself) but not all.
- Spit take: Here.
- Straight Gay: Julian Sands, a camel. When it's discovered he is gay, however, it causes all sorts of issues for him and for Ben.
- Tattooed Crook: An elephant.
- Tears of Joy: At the wedding.
- Tempting Fate: A rabbit talking about how many of her babies are still alive.
- Textile Work Is Feminine: A fly knitting for her maggots.
- That Came Out Wrong: Ben and Danni's conversation at a restaurant. Hilarity Ensues.
Pat: It's the lawyer in me.
- Also this. "He's a very sick mannote and they had to take him awaynote ."
- This exchange between Ben and Pat when they're racing to stop the release of Julian's attackers:
Ben: Yes, I think we've all had a lawyer in us, at one stage or another.
Pat: *Death Glare*
Ben: Oops... Sorry.
- Think Nothing of It: "Just doing my job."
- Ungrateful Bitch: Even after Julian saves her son's life, Shirl hopes he dies.
- Whoopi Epiphany Speech: An orphan gets over her nightmares through drawing a picture, and seeing a boy draw one.
- World of Pun: Most of the strips that aren't part of a storyline (and even some that are) are nothing but high-speed punning.
- Zombie Apocalypse: Fought on a video game — to turn into a walking dead the next day.