- Rodents are “gnawing mammals” and belong to the largest order of living mammals.
- Examples of rodents include rats, mice, squirrels, porcupines, and beavers.
- Rabbits are often mistaken for rodents but actually belong to the Lagomorpha order.
It’s an age-old question: is a rabbit a rodent? For some, the answer may seem obvious, but for others, it can be confusing. To understand why rabbits are not classified as rodents, we must first look at the characteristics of each group.
What Are Rodents?
Rodents or “gnawing mammals” are the largest order of living mammals. Some examples of rodents include rats, mice, squirrels, porcupines, and beavers. All these animals share certain physical characteristics that make them distinct from other mammal groups. They have sharp front teeth which they use to gnaw on things like tree bark and nuts. In addition to their front teeth, they also have cheek teeth which help them grind up food before swallowing it. These animals usually have short fur and long tails (with the exception of some species like the naked mole rat). This fur helps keep them camouflaged in their natural environment.
What About Rabbits?
Rabbits are often mistaken for rodents due to their similar physical characteristics like their long ears and big front teeth. However, despite these similarities, rabbits actually belong to a different mammal order called Lagomorpha which also includes hares and pikas (a type of small mammal related to rabbits).
Unlike rodents who have four toes on each foot and no upper incisors (the two front teeth), lagomorphs have five toes on each foot and two large upper incisors which they use to nibble on grasses and other vegetation. Their fur is typically much thicker than that of a rodent as well.
So there you have it—rabbits are not classified as rodents! Instead they belong to the Lagomorpha order along with hares and pikas. While they do share some physical traits with rodents such as long ears and big front teeth, lagomorphs differ in several key ways such as having five toes per foot instead of four and two upper incisors instead of none. With this knowledge under your belt, you can now confidently answer any questions about whether or not rabbits arerodents!