Welcome to Rodents 101

Rodents are the most significant group of mammals found on this earth.

Their ability to affect this world both numerically and economically has been evident for centuries and they have spread throughout the globe, inhabiting every continent except Antarctica.

This site is a resource to help you get to know the many rodents throughout our world.

Throughout this site, we will attempt to cover every species of rodent there is in a way that explains them in an everyday way.

What are Rodents? Here are a number of Rodent Facts to get you started

  • There are 2,277 species of rodents across 431 genus in 28 families which are listed below.
  • They account for more than 40% of all mammals.
  • They are found in various places all across the world, in all kinds of habitat, with all kinds of characteristics and habits.
  • They are spread over all continents apart from Antarctica.
  • They live in all habitats except for seas and oceans.
  • The are significant members of the food chain being prey and predators to many different species of animal.
  • The word rodent stems from the Latin ‘rodere’ which means to gnaw and ‘roedor’ which is the Spanish for rodent and is an animal who ‘roe’ which means to gnaw.
  • Some rodents have developed as pests because of their amazing adaptability to the human environment taking advantage of our work and enjoying the benefits of the environment that we live.
  • Their main characteristics are that they have different shaped skulls and have a particular arrangement of the jaw musculature, which is theĀ the system or arrangement of muscles around the jaw.
  • They manage to survive by reproducing in significant numbers which mean they have a big impact on our world from those that help our environment to those that are pests to those that are food for others.
  • Amongst Rodents, pregnancies are very short which allows them to spread across habitats that they happen to be in.
  • The first fossil record of mammals that are rodent like is 66 million years old which is just after non-avian dinosaurs were extinct. They appear towards the end of the Paleocene epoch and their ancestry is found in a grouip of fossil mamals named the Mimotinids or the Anagalids.
  • They can vary in size from the very tiny Africa Pygmy Mouse which is 6cm small to the largest living rodent, the Capybara weighing in at 65kg to the largest known rodent which is the now extinct Josephoartigasia Monesi, weighing in at about 1,000 kg.
  • All Rodents use their sharp incisors to gnaw wood, break into food, and help defend themselves against predators
  • Despite the fact that they are such a diverse order of species, they do share common features in that they have a single pair of incisors in each of their jaw’s, and their incisors grow continuously throughout their lives.
  • The first fossil record of mammals that are rodent like is 66 million years old which is just after non-avian dinosaurs were extinct.

Taxonomic Rank of Rodents

Rodents have the following taxonomic rank;

They belong to the animal kingdom (animalia)

The Chordata Phylum

The class of Mammalia

The super order Euarchontoglires

The order Rodentia.

The order is then divided into the following sub orders and families to categorise each rodent.

Click here for a list of rodent families and delve deeper into the world of Rodents

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