Rodents are classified by a single pair of continuously growing incisors in both their upper and lower jaws; the length of their incisors are maintained by gnawing, which is how they eat. The diet of Rodents usually consists of seeds and plants, but some species do have more varied diets. Historically, Rodents have been keep as pets, used as laboratory animals, and treated as pests. Rodents accidentally introduced as invasive species to new ecosystems, most notably islands, have been seen to wreak havoc and cause extinction of naturally-occurring species. Rodents are found on all continents, except Antarctica, and are the only species, besides Bats and Sea Lions, to reach Australia without human introduction.

What do rodents eat?

A rodent’s diet depends on the species as well as habitat. For example, mice and rats are able to carry a flexible diet, and quickly adapt to the food available in their surroundings. Squirrels and beavers have more specific food requirements. Beavers exclusively eat plants such as grass and twigs. Rodents generally eat nuts, meat, fish, fruits, berries, and food scraps.

How do you keep rodents out of a garden?

In order to keep rodents out of a garden remove any shelters they have such as brush piles and tall grass, remove food sources, control lawn grubs, and maintain the garden clean by keeping garbage and recycling bins clean. Also seal any holes, place fences, and place mesh tubes around any plants to prevent rodents from eating them.

Where do rodents live?

There are about 2,050 species of rodents and these make up most the most diversified mammalian order. Rodents live all over the world except Antarctica. They can be found in almost every single country, as well as every type of habitat, including man-made environments. Rodents can be arboreal, semi-aquatic, or fossorial.

Rodents

Common Vole
.5-1 year (wild); 1-3 years (captivity)
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Common Rat
1-2 years (wild); 2-3 years (captivity)
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Norway Lemming
1-2 years (wild); 2-3 years (captivity)
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House Mouse
1-2 years (wild); 2-5 years (captivity)
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Mongolian Gerbil
2-3 years (wild); 3-5 years (captivity)
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Dark Kangaroo Mouse
2-3 years (wild); 4-5 years (captivity)
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African Dormouse
4 years (wild); 5-6 years (captivity)
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Guinea Pig | Cavy
2-4 years (wild); 5-7 years (captivity)
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Eastern Chipmunk
2-4 years (wild); 6-8 years (captivity)
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Common Degu
1-4 years (wild); 5-9 years (captivity)
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Muskrat
2-4 years (wild); up to 10 years (captivity)
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Ord’s Kangaroo Rat
2-5 years (wild); 5-10 years (captivity)
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California Ground Squirrel
3-6 years (wild); up to 10 years (captivity)
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Nutria | Coypu
4-7 years (wild); up to 12 years (captivity)
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Groundhog
3-6 years (wild); 10-14 years (captivity)
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Capybara
7-10 years (wild); 10-15 years (captivity)
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Lowland Paca
Up to 12 years (wild); 12-16 years (captivity)
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Eastern Gray Squirrel
6-12 years (wild); up to 20 years (captivity)
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Long-Tailed Chinchilla
8-10 years (wild); 10-20 years (captivity)
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Yellow-Bellied Marmot
12-15 years (wild); up to 21 years (captivity)
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North American Beaver
10-15 years (wild); 15-25 years (captivity)
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North American Porcupine
10-15 years (wild); 15-30 years (captivity)
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North American Porcupine
Dimensioned size comparison illustration of the North American Porcupine compared to an average person

The North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum), a common New World porcupine, is second in size behind the beaver as one of the largest rodents in North America. The North American Porcupine is best known for and made distinguishable by its spiny quills that cover its body.

The quills are used as a means of defense and can be used in two ways: they can be shaken to create a warning rattle and they can be embedded into a predator if the porcupine decides to charge. To maintain this defense system, the quills can grow back.

North American Porcupines have a height of 12.6”-16.5” (32-42 cm), body length between 23.6”-35.4” (60-90 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 20-40 lb (9-18 kg). The tail length of a North American Porcupine is 8”-10” (20-25 cm). North American Porcupines have a typical lifespan of 10-15 years in the wild and up to 15-30 years in captivity.

Series of elevation illustrations of the North American Porcupine in various poses
The North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum), a common New World porcupine, is second in size behind the beaver as one of the largest rodents in North America. The North American Porcupine is best known for and made distinguishable by its spiny quills that cover its body.

North American Porcupines have a height of 12.6”-16.5” (32-42 cm), body length between 23.6”-35.4” (60-90 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 20-40 lb (9-18 kg). The tail length of a North American Porcupine is 8”-10” (20-25 cm). North American Porcupines have a typical lifespan of 10-15 years in the wild and up to 15-30 years in captivity.

Series of elevation illustrations of the North American Porcupine in various poses
North American Porcupine
Height:
12.6”-16.5” | 32-42 cm
Width:
Length:
23.6”-35.4” | 60-90 cm
Depth:
Weight:
20-40 lb | 9-18 kg
Area:
Tail Length
8”-10” | 20-25 cm
Scientific Name
Erethizon dorsatum
Lifespan
10-15 years (wild); 15-30 years (captivity)

Drawings include:

North American Porcupine side elevation (standing), front (standing), front (upright)

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California Ground Squirrel

The California Ground Squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi) is a species of medium-sized Ground Squirrel rodent that lives on the ground rather than up in the trees. Scientifically known as Marmotini, ground squirrels are noted for their ability to stand up and remain standing on its hind legs for long periods of time.

Physically, it has a bushy tail, rounded ears, strong claws, and fur that varies in color from tawny to dark, reddish-brown. The ground squirrel is an omnivore that is active during the day, retreating to burrows it digs for safety and rest.

California Ground Squirrels have a height of 7”-8.7” (18-22 cm), body length between 15.7”-20” (40-51 cm), and an overall weight in the range of .6-1.6 lb (280-740 g). The tail length of a California Ground Squirrel is 5”-7” (13-18 cm). California Ground Squirrels have a typical lifespan of 3-6 years in the wild and up to 10 years in captivity.

Dimensioned collection of scaled drawings of California Ground Squirrels in various poses
The California Ground Squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi) is a species of medium-sized Ground Squirrel rodent that lives on the ground rather than up in the trees. Scientifically known as Marmotini, ground squirrels are noted for their ability to stand up and remain standing on its hind legs.

California Ground Squirrels have a height of 7”-8.7” (18-22 cm), body length between 15.7”-20” (40-51 cm), and an overall weight in the range of .6-1.6 lb (280-740 g). The tail length of a California Ground Squirrel is 5”-7” (13-18 cm). California Ground Squirrels have a typical lifespan of 3-6 years in the wild and up to 10 years in captivity.

Dimensioned collection of scaled drawings of California Ground Squirrels in various poses
California Ground Squirrel
Height:
7”-8.7” | 18-22 cm
Width:
Length:
15.7”-20” | 40-51 cm
Depth:
Weight:
.6-1.6 lb | 280-740 g
Area:
Tail Length
5”-7” | 13-18 cm
Scientific Name
Otospermophilus beecheyi
Lifespan
3-6 years (wild); up to 10 years (captivity)

Drawings include:

California Ground Squirrel side elevation (standing), front (standing), side (sitting)

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Guinea Pig | Cavy

Originating from the Andes of South America, the American Guinea Pig is considered the oldest, most popular Guinea Pig (or Cavy) breed. Today, the American Guinea Pig is commonly kept as a pet although it was originally raised as livestock in its native country. Its scientific name is Cavia porcellus, with porcellus meaning “little pig” in Latin.

Considered one of the larger-sized rodents weighing up to three pounds (48 ounces), the American Guinea Pig is physically characterized by its stout body, short, flat coat appearing in a variety of colors, rounded nose, and the absence of a tail.

Guinea Pigs have a height of 3.3”-4.1” (8.5-10.5 cm), body length between 7.9”-9.8” (20-25 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 1.5-2.6 lb (.7-1.2 kg). Guinea Pigs have a typical lifespan of 2-4 years in the wild and 5-7 years when raised in captivity.

Series of measured elevation illustrations of the Guinea Pig or Cavy
Originating from the Andes of South America, the American Guinea Pig (Cavia porcellus) is considered the oldest, most popular Guinea Pig (or Cavy) breed. Today, the American Guinea Pig is commonly kept as a pet although it was originally raised as livestock in its native country.

Guinea Pigs have a height of 3.3”-4.1” (8.5-10.5 cm), body length between 7.9”-9.8” (20-25 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 1.5-2.6 lb (.7-1.2 kg). Guinea Pigs have a typical lifespan of 2-4 years in the wild and 5-7 years when raised in captivity.

Series of measured elevation illustrations of the Guinea Pig or Cavy
Guinea Pig | Cavy
Height:
3.3”-4.1” | 8.5-10.5 cm
Width:
Length:
7.9”-9.8” | 20-25 cm
Depth:
Weight:
1.5-2.6 lb | .7-1.2 kg
Area:
Tail Length
Scientific Name
Cavia porcellus
Lifespan
2-4 years (wild); 5-7 years (captivity)

Drawings include:

Guinea Pig (Cavy) side elevation (standing), front (standing)

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Plains Pocket Gopher

The Plains Pocket Gopher, known scientifically as Geomys bursarius, is a rodent named for its external cheek pouches. Like the cheek pouches of other rodents, they are used for storing and carrying food. Other physical characteristics aside from its cheek pouches include: a stocky body with dark brown-black fur, a tapered tail with sparse hairs, and big front feet with long, strong claws.

Residing in the grasslands of the Great Plains of North America, the Plains Pocket Gopher lives a solitary and territorial life dedicating nearly all its time to living in, expanding, and defending its burrows.

Plains Pocket Gophers have a height of 3.5”-5.1” (9-13 cm), body length between 8.2”-13.8” (21-35 cm), and an overall weight in the range of .26-.44 lb (120-200 g). The tail length of a Plains Pocket Gopher is 2”-4.7” (5-12 cm). Plains Pocket Gophers have a typical lifespan of 1-3 years in the wild and 5-7 years in captivity.

Set of dimensioned elevation drawings of the Plains Pocket Gopher
The Plains Pocket Gopher is a rodent named for its external cheek pouches. Like the cheek pouches of other rodents, they are used for storing and carrying food. Other physical characteristics aside from its cheek pouches include: a stocky body with dark fur, a tapered tail, and large front teeth.

Plains Pocket Gophers have a height of 3.5”-5.1” (9-13 cm), body length between 8.2”-13.8” (21-35 cm), and an overall weight in the range of .26-.44 lb (120-200 g). The tail length of a Plains Pocket Gopher is 2”-4.7” (5-12 cm). Plains Pocket Gophers have a typical lifespan of 1-3 years in the wild and 5-7 years in captivity.

Set of dimensioned elevation drawings of the Plains Pocket Gopher
Plains Pocket Gopher
Height:
3.5”-5.1” | 9-13 cm
Width:
Length:
8.2”-13.8” | 21-35 cm
Depth:
Weight:
.26-.44 lb | 120-200 g
Area:
Tail Length
2”-4.7” | 5-12 cm
Scientific Name
Geomys bursarius
Lifespan
1-3 years (wild); 5-7 years (captivity)

Drawings include:

Plains Pocket Gopher side elevation (standing), front (standing)

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Nutria | Coypu
Dimensioned size comparison illustration of the Nutria (Coypu) compared to an average person

Also known as the Nutria, the Coypu (Myocastor coypus) is a rodent native to the subtropics of South America. The Coypu is known to spend its time both on land and in the water. As an herbivore, the Coypu feeds on vegetation and resides in burrows-- both of which are found along the banks of the marshes and lakes it inhabits.

The Coypu is similar in appearance to both the beaver and the rat, although larger in size, and has distinguishable features which includes coarse brown hair, webbed feet, a long round tail, and incisors of a vibrant orange color.

Nutrias have a height of 8.3”-11.8” (21-30 cm), body length between 16”-25” (41-64 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 10-35 lb (4.5-16 kg). The tail length of a Nutria is 10”-16” (25-41 cm). Nutrias have a typical lifespan of 4-7 years in the wild and up to 12 years in captivity.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Nutria (Coypu) in assorted postures
Also known as the Nutria, the Coypu (Myocastor coypus) is a rodent native to the subtropics of South America. The Coypu is known to spend its time both on land and in the water. As an herbivore, the Coypu feeds on vegetation and resides in burrows—both of which are found along marshy banks.

Nutrias have a height of 8.3”-11.8” (21-30 cm), body length between 16”-25” (41-64 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 10-35 lb (4.5-16 kg). The tail length of a Nutria is 10”-16” (25-41 cm). Nutrias have a typical lifespan of 4-7 years in the wild and up to 12 years in captivity.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Nutria (Coypu) in assorted postures
Nutria | Coypu
Height:
8.3”-11.8” | 21-30 cm
Width:
Length:
16”-25” | 41-64 cm
Depth:
Weight:
10-35 lb | 4.5-16 kg
Area:
Tail Length
10”-16” | 25-41 cm
Scientific Name
Myocastor coypus
Lifespan
4-7 years (wild); up to 12 years (captivity)

Drawings include:

Nutria (Coypu) side elevation (standing), front (standing), side (upright)

Details & Downloads

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