10 Different Types of Rodents

Different Types of Rodents
Photo by Joshua J. Cotten

Ever heard of the saying ‘a squirrel is just a rat with a cuter outfit’. Well, they’re both rodents with their nuisance, but one can be found more in a domestic setting.

It’s more interesting to find out that rodents live on every continent except Antarctica. In this article, we shall discuss the different types of rodents. Keep reading.

What Is a Rodent?

Rodents are the most common species of mammals. They’re characterized by an ever-growing pair of incisor teeth in the upper and lower jaw. Canine teeth are absent, but there is a presence of diastema behind the incisors.

Most rodents feed on seeds, leaves, fruits, or nuts to stay alive. However, some are carnivorous, like the grasshopper mice, which feed on worms, spiders, and insects.

You can guess right about those rats and mice living in human settlements. They are omnivorous and will eat anything that comes their way.

The different types of rodents have notable differences in their physical appearance and genetics. Even though they’re mostly considered pests, we shouldn’t overlook their importance to the ecosystem.

Different Types of Rodents

1. Rats

These rodents are the most recognized globally. Their long tail and grey fur are what differentiate them from mice. Rats are primarily found in houses or residential buildings.

Because their teeth never stop growing, rats must gnaw to prevent them from constantly getting too long. They chew anything!, name it – wood, Aluminium, and even plastic.

Their fertility rate is high as they start breeding at five weeks, and their litter size varies between 6 to 20 babies. Rats are also known as a carrier of diseases as it was believed that they were the cause of the Black Death.

2. Hamster

These types of rodents are commonly kept as domestic pets. They’re fat, small, and come in various colors, including white, grey, black, and red. You can consider them one of the cutest species of rodents. 

Hamsters feed on fruits, seeds, nuts, and vegetables, although wild hamsters can eat lizards and insects.

They’re nocturnal and do not like to be startled. Again, they possess poor eyesight and usually leave a scent trail to locate their paths.

One fun fact about hamsters is that they can store food in their cheek pouches. It is even said that their cheek pouches can contain up to 20% of their body mass.

3. Squirrel

One of the different types of rodents commonly found in forests but also parks is the squirrel. They have fur skin and bushy tails and live in trees. Also, they exist in various colors such as brown, grey, red and black.

There are different types of squirrels – ground squirrels, flying squirrels, and tree squirrels. You can differentiate them according to where they live. They do not like the smell of garlic, black pepper, and white pepper.

Squirrels are pretty noisy and can converse with one another through sounds. However, they have a trusting personality.

4. DorMouse

This is a type of rodent with long and bushy tails and tiny and black whiskers. The dormouse has different colors, including black, gold, grey, and tan. They’re also well known for hibernation.

Furthermore, they’re omnivorous and can feed on flowers, fruits, and seeds. Dormouse, however, lacks defense and are usually exposed to many predators.

5. Gerbils

You’ll find gerbils the most sociable of all the different types of rodents. Gerbils have thick fur, tiny toes, small ears, and very long tails. They are cute house pets and are very easy to handle.

In addition, they are omnivorous and can eat seeds, fruits, worms, and grasses. However, foods like garlic, onions, citrus, and wildflowers can harm them.

6. Chinchilla

These small, cute, furry rodents can also serve as house pets. There are two types of chinchilla, namely, the long-tailed and the short-tailed chinchilla. They stay in relaxed environments as heat can be very harmful to them.

7. Mouse

Mouses are small rodents with long tails, petite bodies, and a high breeding rate. You can classify them as pets or pests, depending on their lifestyle and treatment. Also, they have a pretty big appetite as they eat 15 to 20 times a day.

A mouse is a prey to foxes, cats, and reptiles, and they are herbivores and can eat grasses, fruits, and seeds. The mouse weighs 100 – 200g and has a lifespan of 2 to 5 years.

8. Beaver

Beavers are one of the largest rodents in the world. They experience continuous growth throughout their lives and can weigh more than 50kg. Beavers have a scaly and flat tail which measures up to 18inches.

You can find them in lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and wetland areas. They’re herbivores and feed on aquatic plants. The lifespan of a beaver is between 10 to 12 years.

9. Gopher

Gophers are characterized by their tiny ears, hairy tails, and small eyes. They’re widespread in North and Central America. Unlike some of the different types of rodents, gophers don’t hibernate.

You’ll find them digging tunnels all year round to store food and hide from predators. They weigh between 220 and 1000g, and their lifespan varies between 3 and 5 years.

10. Agouti

These types of rodents look very similar to guinea pigs. They come in various colors, such as brown, orange, black, and red.

Agouti is a fast runner, which comes in handy when escaping predators. Their favorite foods are nuts and fruits.

Moreover, they mark their territories with urine to keep other agoutis out. Lastly, they weigh up to 8.8 pounds and live up to 17 years!


You can identify the different types of rodents without mixing them up. If you’re interested in keeping them as pets, choose your favorite and learn more about caring for them. Thanks for reading!

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