Rodentia (Rodents) and Families | Skulls Unlimited International, Inc. 1-800-659-SKULL

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Rodentia

Rodents

The order Rodentia consist of nearly 2000 species or mice, rats, squirrels, gophers, porcupines and various other rodents, and is the largest mammalian order. The worlds largest rodent is the capybara while the smallest is the pygmy mouse. Rodents naturally occur everywhere around the world with the exception of Antarctica and New Zealand, but have been introduced there as well.

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FAMILIES in the Class Rodentia

Aplodontidae ( Mountain Beavers )

Aplodontidae (Mountain Beavers)
The Aplodontidae includes a single genus and species, the mountain beaver Aplodontia rufa. Aplodontia are restricted in distribution to the Pacific northwest of North America, from central California to southern British Colombia. Mountain beavers are medium sized rodents, weighing up to about 1.5 kg.

Capromyidae ( Hutias )

Capromyidae (Hutias)
The family Capromyidae is comprised of 16 members, all commonly called hutia. In habiting various Caribbean Islands, these large rodents resemble cavies or nutria in form. Most species are herbivorous, but a few will occasionally eat small vertebrates. Most hutias nest in trees or rock crevices. They are hunted as a food source in Cuba

Castoridae ( Beavers )

Castoridae (Beavers)
The family Castoridae consists of only two living species of beaver. Beavers are the largest of the rodents found in North America and Eurasia.They are heavy aquatic mammals perhaps best know for making dam homes responsible for causing, at times, large lakes and ponds. All Castoridae belong to the Rodentia.

Caviidae ( Cavies & Guinea Pigs )

Caviidae (Cavies & Guinea Pigs)
The Caviidae is a family of rodents that occurs over most of South America. It includes two subfamilies: the Caviinae, and the Dolichotinae. The most well known of the Caviidae family is probably the domestic guinea pig. All Caviidae belong to the Rodentia.

Chinchillidae ( Chinchillas )

Chinchillidae (Chinchillas)
The family Chinchillidae consists of only six species of viscachas and chinchillas. This gregarious family of species is found only in western and southern South America. Many have enlarged auditory bullae which allows for increased hearing thus, increasing their ability to evade predators. Members of Chinchillidae are mostly herbivorous and remain active throughout the year.

Dasyproctidae ( Pacas Agoutis & Acouchises )

Dasyproctidae (Pacas Agoutis & Acouchises)
The family Daysproctidae contains 13 species in 2 genera. Restricted to tropical parts of the new world, it includes the paca, agoutis, and acouchis. All Daysproctidae belong to the Rodentia.

Erethizontidae ( American Porcupines )

Erethizontidae (American Porcupines)
The family Erethizontidae is made up of the new world porcupines. Erethizontidae range from the arctic coast of North America to southern South America. This family is probably best known for the numerous sharp quills that cover the majority of their bodies. These quills serve as an almost impenetrable defense mechanism protecting Erethizontidae from most predators.

Geomyidae ( Pocket Gophers )

Geomyidae (Pocket Gophers)
The family Geomyidae consists of 37 living species of gophers. These small specialized mammals have heavy front limbs well adapted for burrowing. They live most their fossorial lives underground in elaborate tunnels and emerge only at night, mainly to breed. All Sciuridae belong to the Rodentia.

Heteromyidae ( Kangaroo Rats & Mice )

Heteromyidae (Kangaroo Rats & Mice)
The family Heteromyidae is comprised of kangaroo mice, kangaroo rats and pocket mice. There are 60 species that very significantly in appearance. The auditory bullae of many Heteromyidae are tremendously over sized and make up around one-third the skulls total size. All Heteromyidae belong to the Rodentia.

Hydrochaeridae ( Capybaras )

Hydrochaeridae (Capybaras)
The family Hydrochaerodae contains a single living species, the capybara. Members of this family in prehistoric times were much larger than modern capybaras, reaching or exceeding the size of a large bear. The family occurs only in the tropics of South America north to Panama. All Hydrochaerodae belong to the Rodentia.

Hystricidae ( Old World Porcupines )

Hystricidae (Old World Porcupines)
The family Hystricidae includes 11 species of porcupines found in Africa and Asia. These Old World rodents are large, with the largest weighing up to 25 kg (55lbs). Members of this family possess specialized pelage, or hairs, that are modified into sharp spikes or quills. These quills act as a deterent defence against larger predators. All Hystricidae belong to the Rodentia

Muridae ( Rats & Mice )

Muridae (Rats & Mice)
The family Muridae is the largest mammalian family. It is comprised of 1,138 species of rats, mice, hamsters, voles, lemmings, and gerbils. The large number of species found in this family can be attributed to their ability to produce many litters per year. This allows greater chances for random mutation and therefore evolutionary change.

Myocastoridae ( Nutrias )

Myocastoridae (Nutrias )
There are thirty-three species in the family Myocastordae, found throughout Central and South America. Currently one species, the nutria, is found by introduction in the southeastern United States. Members of Myocastordae may be terrestrial or semi-aquatic and their diets consist of vegetation and small animals.

Nesomyidae ( Pouched Rats )

Nesomyidae (Pouched Rats)
Nesomyidae is a family of small to medium sized rodents native to Africa and Madagascar. This family includes Malagasy rats and mice, climbing mice, African rock mice, swamp mice, white-tailed rats and pouched rats. All Nesomyidae belong to the Rodentia.

Pedetidae ( Springhares )

Pedetidae (Springhares)
The only member of this family is the springhare found throughout southern Africa. These small scrub land animals live in burrows and are nocturnal. Their legs are long and powerful and can be utilized to leap like a kangaroo. These leaps may measure up to three meters.

Sciuridae ( Squirrels )

Sciuridae (Squirrels)
The Sciuridae is comprised of 260 species of squirrels, which can be found throughout most of the world. Sciuridae live on a diet of nuts and other plant matter, as well as some small animals and insects. Most inhabit trees and are diurnal however, some species are nocturnal. All Sciuridae belong to the Rodentia.

Spalacidae ( Mole Rats,& Bamboo Rats )

Spalacidae (Mole Rats,& Bamboo Rats)
The family Spalacidae consists of 36 species of mole rats, zokors, and bamboo rats. This diverse group of fossorial rodents can be found throughout much of the old world from the Ukraine through the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean, into Africa as far west as Libya and as far south as northern Tanzania, and in Asia from western China south to Sumatra and north to southern Siberia.

Thryonomyidae ( Cane Rats )

Thryonomyidae (Cane Rats)
The family Thyronomyidae consists of two species of cane rats; the greater and the lesser cane rat. Also known as grass cutters, these medium-sized rodents are found throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Thryonids are eaten in some African countries and are considered a pest due to the damage they can inflict on many crops.