Rodents (from Latin rodere, "to gnaw"), are mammals of the order Rodentia, which are characterized by a single pair of continuously growing incisors in each of the upper and lower jaws.
Temporal range: early Palaeocene – Recent
61.7 mya to present
Rodents comprise about 40% of all mammal species. They are native to all major land masses except for New Zealand, Antarctica, and several oceanic islands, though they have subsequently been introduced to most of these land masses by human activity.
Rodent species change
Rodent is the naming term of all members of Rodentia order of mammals and can be identified by their teeth. Their incisors (upper and lower) grow throughout their lives. Gnawing on hard material keeps the teeth worn down and sharp. Lagomorphs such as rabbits and hares are often mistaken for rodents. These animals have an additional pair of upper incisors that rodents lack, a very successful number of mammals that form the order Rodentia.
They have no more than 2 incisors. These keep growing, and must be kept worn down by gnawing (eroding teeth by grinding them on something hard); this is the origin of the name, from the Latin rodere, "to gnaw", and dent, "tooth".
Most rodents are small. Examples of commonly known rodents are mice, rats, chipmunks, and squirrels. Some other small rodents sometimes kept as pets are Guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils. Examples of larger rodents are porcupines, beavers, and the largest living rodent, the capybara, which can grow to between 105 and 135 cm (40-55 in) in length, and weigh 35 to 65 kg (75-140 lbs).
Rabbits, hares, and pikas are sometimes called rodents, because they also have teeth that keep growing. But in 1912 biologists decided to put them in a new, separate order, Lagomorpha, because they have two extra incisors in their upper jaw.
There are more families than these. The list includes the more common families.
- Order Rodentia
- Suborder Anumaluromorpha
- Suborder Castorimorpha
- Suborder Hystricomorpha
- Suborder Sciuromorpha
- Suborder Myomorpha