"A rat is small."
Translation:चूहा छोटा होता है ।
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एक (one, a, an) is not used in Hindi nearly as regularly as it's used in English. Because Hindi uses verb endings to denote masculine/feminine and singular/plural, the ek really isn't necessary to determine whether we're talking about one thing, or multiple things.
That being said, as a non-native Hindi speaker, I have noticed through listening to Hindi speakers that the use of एक is generally reserved for situations where emphasis is needed on the fact it is only one thing.
I don't know the Hindi translations, but some English examples to explain what I mean by that.
"My birthday is in ONE day!"
"I ran for AN ENTIRE hour today!"
"I study for AN hour each evening."
The ONE is important to the meaning/importance of the sentence and, consequently, is added into the sentence using ek.
As for the main purpose of why you commented, no this sentence would not require "ek" in it. As general statements are not talking about ONE thing, they are referring to ALL parts of that ONE thing. So, adding an emphasis on it being just one thing (when we're actually talking about multiple things) wouldn't make much sense, I imagine.