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Rodents

Please choose an animal from the list below:


Family Sciuridae

Marmots

Vancouver Island Marmot
Hoary Marmot
Woodchuck
Yellow-Bellied Marmot


Order Rodentia

Rodentia comprises 40% of the class Mammalia and is its largest order. It is a very diverse order, so diverse that some scientists are saying there is no such thing as a rodent and that the order should be divided into several orders. Rodents are known as "gnawing" mammals because they all have an upper and lower pair of incisors that continually grow, and must be worn down by chewing. If they are not worn down, the incisors could become large enough to prevent eating. Rodents vary in size and shape, but they are basically four-legged, furry, and have an external tail of varying length. They are generally thought to be disease-carriers because the black rat carried fleas who carried the bubonic plague. While some mice species do carry hantaviruses, this is generally a misconception. Rodents move in several ways. Some species can walk, run, swim, glide, climb, and/or burrow underground. Rodents are found on almost every land mass in the world, with the notable exceptions of New Zealand and Antarctica. There are 2 suborders (although some may say 3, I am going with the 2). The suborders are based on skull shape and jaw strength. They contain 30 families and 2000 species:

Suborder Sciurognathi (from Sciurus, the squirrel genus)
Aplodontiidae (mountain beaver) 1 sp
Sciuridae (squirrels) 260 sp
Castoridae (beavers) 2 sp
Geomyidae (pocket gophers) 35 sp
Heteromyidae (kangaroo rats, pocket mice) 59 sp
Dipodidae (jerboas, jumping mice) 51 sp
Muridae (mice, rats, voles, hamsters, lemmings) 1325 sp
Anomaluridae (scaly-tailed squirrels) 7 sp
Pedetidae (springhares) 1 sp
Ctenodactylidae (gundis) 5 sp
Myoxidae (dormice, hazel mice) 26 sp

Suborder Hystricognathi (from Hystrix, the porcupine genus)
Bathyergidae (mole rats, blesmols) 12 sp
Hystricidae (Old World porcupines) 11 sp
Petromuridae (rock rats) 1 sp
Thryonomyidae (cane rats) 2 sp
Erethizontidae (New World porcupines) 12 sp
Chinchillidae (chinchillas, viscachas) 6 sp
Dinomyidae (pacarana) 1 sp
Caviidae (cavies, guinea pigs, maras) 14 sp
Hydrochoeridae (capybara) 1 sp
Dasyproctidae (agoutis, acouchis) 13 sp
Agoutidae (pacas) 2 sp
Ctenomyidae (tuco-tucos) 38 sp
Octodontidae (degus, coruros) 9 sp
Abrocomidae (chinchilla rats) 3 sp
Echimyidae (spiny rats) 78 sp
Capromyidae (hutias, Indian coneys) 20 sp 10 probably extinct
Heptaxodontidae (Quemi, giant hutias) 5 sp all probably extinct
Myocastoridae (nutrias) 1 sp

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