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Care of Mice and Rats

What are rodents?


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September 13, 2011 6:50PM

The simple answer is- a rodent is a small furry animal with two large incisor teeth. They are mostly onmivorous. 40% of all animals are rodents.

Here is the complex answer; All life on earth is put into separate categories, which helps people to understand how different life forms relate to each other- how they are different and similar. This practice of categorising life is called Taxonomy. As a mouse is a rodent, I will use a mouse as an example.

Firstly all life is separated into 'domains'. There are three domains; Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya. All animals and plants are 'Eukarya'.

Then they are separated (they are so annoying!) further into 'kingdoms'. There are six kingdoms; Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Protista, Archaea, and Bacteria. Mice are, of course, in the first group 'animalia' or 'animals'.

Then we have the 'phylum'. The phylum that mice fit into is 'Chordata', and we humans are also Chordata, and anything that has a backbone such as a fish, a crocodile, or a finch.

Then we have the 'class'. The class of a mouse is 'mammal'. Again, we humans are also mammals, however- feathered and scaly animals are not mammals, they are a different 'class'.

Then we finally come to the 'order'. This is where we humans separate from mice. Mice are of the order 'rodent' and we are of the order 'primate'.

But the categories do not stop dividing there, rodents can be separated into their separate 'family', then further into 'genus' then even further into separate 'species'.

Our example of a mouse, then, in all these ever decreasing categories, looks like this:

Eukaryote; animal; chordate; mammal; rodent; muridae; mus; mouse.

Other rodents include rats, squirrels, chipmunks, gophers, porcupines, beavers, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, degus, chinchillas, prairie dogs, and groundhogs. They all share enough similarities to be put into one category together.