What is a Rodent?

Rodents are a diverse group of mammals that make up almost 40% of the mammal population.

With a few exceptions (such as the naked mole-rat) all rodents

  • Are endothermic (warm blooded)
  • Have fur
  • Give live birth to their babies
  • Feed their babies milk

They can be found almost everywhere in the world. But what separates a rodent from other mammals?

  • Have razor sharp incisors (front teeth) that keep growing
  • Rodents need to find things to chew on to make sure that their teeth don’t grow too long. (In fact, the word rodent comes from the latin word “to gnaw”)
  • Have iron in their teeth which gives their teeth an orange color. Unlike you, for a rodent, having orange teeth is a sign that they’re healthy.

 

Besides their ever-growing teeth, rodents are incredibly diverse in their diet, socialization, and environments.

  • Some rodents are herbivores, while others are known to eat insects
  • Some rodents live by themselves, while some have incredibly diverse social structures
  • Some rodents mate for life, while others will have many different mates in their life time

Rodents range from common animals you have probably heard of….

To some of the oddest animals you’ve ever heard of

  • Naked mole rats (one of the few mammals that’s ectothermic, or cold blooded!)
  • Cabybara (The largest rodent in the world, it can get up to over 100 pounds!)
  • Mara (A rodent with skinny legs that makes it look more like a kangaroo than a rodent!)

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