Category:Rodents by common name
This category has the following 6 subcategories, out of 6 total.
This category has the following 6 subcategories, out of 6 total.
1. Blesmol – The blesmols, also known as mole-rats, or African mole-rats, are burrowing rodents of the family Bathyergidae. They represent an evolution of a subterranean life among rodents much like the pocket gophers of North America. Modern blesmols are found strictly in sub-Saharan Africa, fossil forms are also restricted almost exclusively to Africa, although a few specimens of the Pleistocene species Cryptomys asiaticus have been found in Israel. Nowak also reports that †Gypsorhynchus has been found in deposits of Mongolia. Blesmols are somewhat mole-like animals with bodies and short limbs. They range from 9 to 30 cm in length, and from 30 to 1,800 g in weight, blesmols, like many other fossorial mammals, have greatly reduced eyes and ear pinnae, a relatively short tail, loose skin, and velvety fur. Blesmols have very poor vision, although they may use the surfaces of their eyes for sensing air currents, despite their small or absent pinnae, they have a good sense of hearing, although their most important sense appears to be that of touch. Like other rodents, they have an excellent sense of smell, the eyes of blesmols are structurally normal, despite their relatively small size, and include normal light-sensitive cells. However, the centres of their brains are reduced in certain respects. Research has shown that at least two species of blesmol are not blind, as believed, and will actively avoid blue or green-yellow light. They do not appear able to detect the presence of red light, the ability to sense the presence of light is probably useful in allowing them to detect breaches in their tunnel systems and repair them promptly. Most blesmol species dig using their incisors and, to a lesser extent. Dune blesmols aside, some species have been reported to be able to extend their burrows by an inch into the walls of concrete enclosures. Their unique skull shape is associated with delivering sheer power to the masseter muscle which is responsible for the powerful bite of the anterior portion of the mouth. The incisors of blesmols are projected forward and protrude from the mouth even when the mouth is closed and this condition allows the animals to burrow with their teeth without getting dirt in their mouths. As with all members of their suborder, their jaws are hystricognathous, the medial masseter muscle shows only minimal passage through the infraorbital foramen leading most authorities to consider them protrogomorphous. They are therefore the only protrogomorphous hystricognaths, blesmols live in elaborate burrow systems and different species exhibit varying degrees of sociality. Most species are solitary, but two species, the damaraland blesmol and the naked mole-rat are considered to be the only two eusocial mammals and these species are characterized by having a single reproductively active male and female in a colony where the remaining animals are sterile
2. Cane rat – The genus Thryonomys, also known as the cane rats, is a genus of rodent found throughout Africa south of the Sahara, the only members of the family Thryonomyidae. They are eaten in some African countries and are a pest species on many crops, the family name comes from the Greek word thryon, meaning a rush or reed. Cane rats range in length from 35 to 60 centimetres. They commonly weigh 6-7 kilograms in captivity, and can attain weights up to 10 kilograms in the wild and they are heavily built rodents, with bristly brown fur speckled with yellow or grey. They live in areas and along river and lake banks. In agricultural areas they also, as the name suggests, feed on the crops in cane plantations. Females give birth to litters of two to four young at least once a year, and more frequently in some areas, cane rats are sexually mature and able to reproduce at 6 months of age. Cane rats are widely distributed and farmers expend substantial energy fencing the rodents out of their fields, like the guinea pig, the meat is of a higher protein but lower fat content than domesticated farm meat and it is also appreciated for its tenderness and taste. In the savanna area of West Africa, people have traditionally captured wild cane rats, practical information is now more readily available for farmers interested in cane rat breeding, but training is still advised. There are areas where they have been over-hunted, and savanna habitat is often at risk during the dry season from bushfires, the Value of Grasscutters, World Ark, pp. 23–24. BBC article on grasscutter rearing in Ghana
3. Gopher – Pocket gophers, commonly referred to as gophers, are burrowing rodents of the family Geomyidae. About 35 species of live in Central and North America. They are commonly known for their extensive tunneling activities, Gophers are endemic to North and Central America. The name pocket gopher on its own may be used to refer to any of a number of genera within the family and these are the true gophers, however several ground squirrels in the distantly related family Sciuridae are often called gophers, as well. The origin of the word gopher is uncertain, french gaufre, meaning waffle, has been suggested, on account of the gophers tunnels resembling the honeycomb-like pattern of holes in a waffle. Another suggestion is that the word is of Muskogean origin, Gophers weigh around 0.5 lb, and are about 6–8 in long in body length, with a tail 1–2 in long. A few species reach weights approaching 1 kg, within any species, the males are larger than the females and can be nearly double their weight. Their lifespans are normally one to three years assuming no diseases or predation, the maximum lifespan for the pocket gopher is about five years. Some gophers, such as those in the genus Geomys, have lifespans that have been documented as up to seven years in the wild, most gophers have brown fur that often closely matches the color of the soil in which they live. Their most characteristic features are their large cheek pouches, from which the pocket in their name derives. These pouches are fur-lined, can be turned out. Gophers have small eyes and a short, hairy tail, which use to feel around tunnels when they walk backwards. Pocket gophers have been found to carry external parasites. Common predators of the gopher include weasels, snakes, and hawks, all pocket gophers create a network of tunnel systems that provide protection and a means of collecting food. They are larder hoarders, and their cheek pouches are used for transporting back to their burrows. Unlike ground squirrels, gophers do not live in large communities, tunnel entrances can be identified by small piles of loose soil covering the opening. Their burrows can be found in areas where the soil is softer. They often appear in gardens, lawns, or farms
4. Gundi – Gundis or comb rats are a group of small, stocky rodents found in Africa. They live in rocky deserts across the northern parts of the continent, the family comprises four living genera and five species, as well as numerous extinct genera and species. They are in the superfamily Ctenodactyloidea and they first came to the notice of western naturalists in Tripoli in 1774, and were given the name gundi mice. Gundis are from 17–18 cm in length, with compact bodies covered in soft fur, short legs. They have only four toes on all feet and the toes of the hind feet carry comb-like bristles. Gundis have short tails, which in species are covered in a large fan of hair that aids in balancing as they move about their rocky. They are herbivorous, eating almost every type of available plant, like many other desert animals, they do not drink, obtaining all the moisture they need from their food. Because of the need to preserve moisture, female gundis produce only an amount of milk. Gundis live in colonies of up to a hundred or more individuals and they do not make permanent dens, but simply shelter in crevices in the rocks at night, or during midday when the sun becomes too hot for them to remain active. They are vocal animals, with a range of alarm calls, according to a DNA sequence study, the ancestors of the gundis diverged from those of the Laotian rock rat around the Lutetian, some 44 million years ago
5. Mountain beaver – The mountain beaver is a North American rodent. It has several names, including, aplodontia, mountain boomer, ground bear. The name sewellel beaver comes from sewellel or suwellel, the Chinookan term for a made from its pelts. This species is the only living member of its genus, Aplodontia and it should not be confused with true North American and Eurasian beavers, to which it is not closely related. Mountain beavers are brown, but their fur can range from slightly more reddish to more blackish depending on subspecies, the animals have distinctively short tails. Adults weigh about 500–900 g, with a few specimens topping 1,000 g, total length is about 30–50 cm, with a tail length of 1–4 cm. The skull is protrogomorphous, it has no specialized attachments for the muscles as seen in other rodents. It is flattened and lacks a postorbital process, the baculum is thin and distinctly forked. The penis is about 4.5 cm in length, the male does not have a true scrotum, but the testes move into a position called semiscrotal during the breeding season. Mountain beavers have a projection on each molar and premolar tooth. This projection points toward the cheek on the tooth row. The cheek teeth lack the complex folds of other rodents and instead consist of single basins. Two upper and one lower premolars are present, along all the molars. Their karyotype is 2n =46 and they range from sea level to the tree line. They can be found in deciduous and coniferous forests, but throughout most of the range appear to prefer the former. These animals appear to be limited to moist microenvironments, with most subspecies occurring only in regions with minimal snowfall. They do not appear to be able to body heat or warmth as efficiently as other rodents. They exhibit coprophagy and eat soft fecal pellets to obtain maximum nutrients, food includes fleshy herbs and young shoots of more woody plants
6. Porcupine – Porcupines are rodentian mammals with a coat of sharp spines, or quills, that protect against predators. The term covers two families of animals, the Old World porcupines of family Hystricidae, and the New World porcupines of family Erethizontidae, the Old World porcupines live in southern Europe, Asia, and most of Africa. They are large, terrestrial, and strictly nocturnal, in taxonomic terms, they form the family Hystricidae. The New World porcupines are indigenous to North America and northern South America and they live in wooded areas and can climb trees, where some species spend their entire lives. They are less strictly nocturnal than their Old World relatives, in taxonomic terms, they form the family Erethizontidae. Porcupines are the third-largest of the rodents, behind the capybara, most porcupines are about 60–90 cm long, with an 20–25 cm long tail. Weighing 5–16 kg, they are rounded, large, and slow, Porcupines occur in various shades of brown, gray, and white. Porcupines spiny protection resembles that of the unrelated erinaceomorph hedgehogs and Australian spiny anteaters or monotreme echidnas, the name porcupine comes from Latin porcus pig + spina spine, quill, via Old Italian—Middle French—Middle English. A regional American name for the animal is quill pig, similarly, the German name, Stachelschwein, means thorn-swine and the Afrikaans name, ystervark, means iron pig. Fossils belonging to the Hystrix genus date back to the late Miocene of Africa, a porcupine is any of 29 species of rodents belonging to the families Erethizontidae or Hystricidae. The two families of porcupines are quite different, and although both belong to the Hystricognathi branch of the vast order Rodentia, they are not closely related, the 11 Old World porcupines tend to be fairly large, and have spikes grouped in clusters. The two subfamilies of New World porcupines are mostly smaller, have their quills attached singly rather than grouped in clusters, the New World porcupines evolved their spines independently and are more closely related to several other families of rodents than they are to the Old World porcupines. The North American porcupine is a herbivore, it leaves, herbs, twigs. In the winter, it may eat bark and it often climbs trees to find food. The African porcupine is not a climber and forages on the ground and it is mostly nocturnal, but will sometimes forage for food in the day. Porcupines have become a pest in Kenya and are eaten as a delicacy, Porcupines quills, or spines, take on various forms, depending on the species, but all are modified hairs coated with thick plates of keratin, and embedded in the skin musculature. Old World porcupines have quills embedded in clusters, whereas in New World porcupines, single quills are interspersed with bristles, underfur, quills are released by contact or may drop out when the porcupine shakes its body. New quills grow to replace lost ones, Porcupines were long believed to have the ability to project their quills to a considerable distance at an enemy, but this has since been proven to be untrue
7. Squirrel – Squirrels are members of the family Sciuridae, a family that includes small or medium-size rodents. The squirrel family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, flying squirrels, Squirrels are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa, and were introduced by humans to Australia. The earliest known date from the Eocene period and are most closely related to the mountain beaver. That word squirrel, first attested in 1327, comes from the Anglo-Norman esquirel which is from the Old French escurel and this Latin word was borrowed from the Ancient Greek word σκίουρος, skiouros, which means shadow-tailed, referring to the bushy appendage possessed by many of its members. The native Old English word for the squirrel, ācweorna, survived only into Middle English before being replaced, Squirrels typically have slender bodies with bushy tails and large eyes. In general, their fur is soft and silky, although much thicker in some species than others, the color of squirrels is highly variable between—and often even within—species. In general, the limbs are longer than the fore limbs. Their paws include a poorly developed thumb, and have soft pads on the undersides. Unlike most mammals, Tree squirrels can descend a tree head-first and they do so by rotating their ankles 180 degrees so the hind paws are backward-pointing and can grip the tree bark. Squirrels live in almost every habitat from tropical rainforest to desert, avoiding only the high polar regions. They are predominantly herbivorous, subsisting on seeds and nuts, but many will eat insects, as their large eyes indicate, in general squirrels have an excellent sense of vision, which is especially important for tree-dwelling species. They also have very versatile and sturdy claws for grasping and climbing, many also have a good sense of touch, with vibrissae on their heads and limbs. The teeth of sciurids follow the typical rodent pattern, with large gnawing incisors that grow throughout life, the typical dental formula for sciurids is 220.127.116.11.0.1.3. Many juvenile squirrels die in the first year of life, adult squirrels can have a lifespan of 5 to 10 years in the wild. Some can survive 10 to 20 years in captivity, Squirrels breed once or twice a year and give birth to a varying number of young after three to six weeks, depending on species. The young are naked, toothless, and blind. In most species of squirrel, only the female looks after the young, in general, ground-dwelling species are social animals, often living in well-developed colonies, but the tree-dwelling species are more solitary. Squirrels cannot digest cellulose, so they must rely on foods rich in protein, carbohydrates, during these times, squirrels rely heavily on the buds of trees
8. Tree squirrel – Tree squirrels are the members of the squirrel family most commonly referred to as squirrels. They include over a hundred primarily tree-dwelling species, native to all continents except Antarctica, the defining characteristic that is used to determine which of the various species of Sciuridae are tree squirrels is therefore not so dependent on their physiology, but their habitat. Tree squirrels live mostly among trees, as opposed to other squirrels that live in burrows in the ground or among rocks. The most well known genus of squirrels is Sciurus, which includes the Eastern gray squirrel of North America, the red squirrel of Eurasia. In some larger cities, they are often the wild mammals that most people ever see. Current taxonomy, based on data, splits the tree squirrels into several subfamilies. The following genera of the family are classified as tree squirrels. In residential neighborhoods, they are notorious for tenaciously trying to circumvent obstacles in order to eat from bird feeders, although they are expert climbers, and primarily arboreal, some species of squirrels also thrive in urban environments, where they have adapted to humans. Squirrels are sometimes considered pests because of their propensity to chew on various edible and inedible objects and their characteristic gnawing trait also aids in maintaining sharp teeth, and because their teeth grow continuously, prevents their over-growth. On occasion, squirrels will chew through plastic and even metal to get to food, tree squirrels may bury food in the ground for later retrieval. Birds, especially crows, will watch a squirrel bury a nut. Squirrels use their sense of smell to search for buried food. This may become an annoyance to gardeners with strict landscape requirements, homeowners in areas with a heavy squirrel population must be vigilant in keeping attics, basements, and sheds carefully sealed to prevent property damage caused by nesting squirrels. A squirrel nest is called a drey, Squirrels are a serious fire hazard when they break into buildings. They often treat exposed power cables as tree branches, and gnaw on the electrical insulation, the resulting exposed conductors can short out, causing a fire. For this reason alone, squirrel nests inside buildings cannot be safely ignored, a squirrel nest will also cause problems with noise, excreta, unpleasant odors, and eventual structural damage. Some homeowners resort to more interesting ways of dealing with this problem, such as collecting and placing fur from pets such as domestic cats and it is hoped that this fur would indicate to nesting squirrels that a potential predator roams, and will encourage evacuation. Odoriferous repellents, including mothballs and ammonia, are ineffective in expelling squirrels from buildings