Rodents are called rodents because they are of the classification order “Rodentia” Almost half of all mammals are rodents.
Rabbits, however, are from the family of animals called Leporidae, which is in the order Lagomorpha.
Therefore, since rabbits are not within the order Rodentia, they are not rodents! Let’s delve a bit more into exactly what rabbits are.
Table of contents
- Leporidae vs Rodents Teeth
- Additional Comparisons Between Rabbits and Rodents
- Common Types of Rabbits
- Common Rodentia
Leporidae, the family which includes rabbits, is one of only two families that belong to the Lagomorpha order of mammals.
The other family, the Ochotonidae family, has pikas.
One huge difference between Lagomorpha (rabbits) and Rodentia (rodents) is that Lagomorpha are strictly herbivores, while Rodentia are omnivores
There are also some similarities between Lagmorpha and Rodentia which can cause confusion. These similarities include some of the same behaviors, the shape and size of the two orders are similar, and members of both orders are prey form many of the same predators.
The order Lagomorpha contains two families – Leporidae and Ochtonidae. Leporidae is the family that contains all rabbits and hares. Thus, rabbits and hares are called “Leporids.”
Leporidae vs Rodents Teeth
Leporids and Rodents share characteristics regarding their teeth that are not common with other types of animals. There are also features of their teeth that distinguish them from one another.
Similarities – Incisors, Canines, Diastema
Both rodents and Leporids have prominent incisors in the front of their mouth. These teeth continue to grow throughout the animal’s life.
Another similarity between rodents and rabbits is that they don’t have canine teeth. These are the pointy teeth in the front of the mouth that many animals – including humans – have which are good for tearing into meat. These teeth are not needed in herbivores. Rabbits and rodents also have a significant gap (diastema) between the incisors and the first cheek tooth.
Differences – Incisors, Enamel
Leporids and Rodents also have different tooth characteristics, specifically the number of teeth and the enamel coverage.
As we noted, both rodents and rabbits have large incisors at the front of their mouths. Unlike rodents, however, Leporids have an additional pair of incisor teeth (see also ‘How Many Teeth Do Rabbits Have?‘) directly behind the large incisors located in the upper jaw.
In contrast to the incisors of rodents, which only have enamel on one face, the enamel of Leporids wraps around the back surface of the tooth.
Additional Comparisons Between Rabbits and Rodents
- Lagomorphs are animals that range in size from small to medium and, in many respects, are comparable to large rodents
- Rodents have long tails. Lagomorphs have much shorter tails
- Rabbits and Hares have distinctive long ears
- Lagomorphs are herbivores; some rodents are omnivores
- The leporids (hares and rabbits) have oversized hind feet and particularly long legs
- All rabbits engage in coprophagia, and some rodents do as well. Food passes through a rabbits digestive system twice. The first excretions are called cecotropes, which are consumed again for redigestion
- Rodents have a baculum, but rabbits do not
- Rabbits do not have paw pads. Rather, the bottoms of their paws are entirely covered in fur
- Female rabbits are larger than male rabbits This is extremely rare among land mammals
- Rodents are far more common than rabbits. There are about 1600 species of rodents, and only about 110 species of Lagomorphs, of which there are 42 species of rabbits and 33 species of hare
Common Types of Rabbits
Rabbit breeding has produced a distinct variety created through artificial selection or, on occasion, natural choice to achieve particular characteristics, such as size and fur. Here are some common type of Leporids (rabbits):
This rabbit’s laid-back personality earned it the nickname dog of the Rabbit World. It also has the longest ears, which require maintenance. Their ears must be checked and their nails trimmed.
The Dutch were developed in England in the 1830s. This energetic rabbit needs socialization, or it will become depressed. Children can care for it thanks to its easygoing nature.
Calm and sweet, the rare breed is excellent for first-time owners. Young children shouldn’t care for them since they’re shy and may bite if handled roughly. A well-groomed and well-fed American rabbit can live 12 years.
With big floppy ears, the Flemish giant stands apart.
Tiny rabbits with distinctive fur around their head that looks like a lion’s mane.
There are approximately 4,660 species of mammals, with rodents making up almost half of that class. Rodents are the most diverse group of mammals.
Rodents are known for having constantly growing incisors.
The ecology and lifestyles of rodents are extraordinarily varied, and these animals can be found in virtually every terrestrial habitat, including those that humans have manipulated.
Here is a list of some widely recognized rodents.
- A mouse is distinguished by its small bodies, rounded ears, pointed noses, long tails and high reproductive rates
- Mice are the most common mammals considered pests. In particular, field mice enter homes for food and shelter.
- Pet mice are domesticated house mice, making them one of the most common rodent pets
- Rats are a diverse group of medium-sized rodents with long tails.
- The order Rodentia is home to a wide variety of rat species, but the genus Rattus is where you’ll find the most familiar-looking rats.
- It is estimated that there are 7 billion rats worldwide, equivalent to almost one rat for every human.
- The chinchilla is a small rodent with rounded ears, greyish fur, and large dark eyes
- They live in family groups that can form over 100-person herds. Male chinchillas help raise young, unlike other rodents.
- Long-tailed Chinchilla lanigera and short-tailed Chinchilla chinchilla exist.
- Both are Endangered due to excessive hunting and trapping, and their numbers continue to decline despite protection.
- The porcupine’s Latin name means “quill pig” More than two dozen porcupine species have needle-like quills to deter predators.
- The crested porcupine’s quills are nearly a foot long.
- Porcupines have soft hair, but it’s often mixed with sharp quills.
- When threatened, a porcupine’s quills jump to attention as a deterrent. Porcupines can’t shoot their quills, but they detach when touched.
Rabbits are not rodents. Rabbits are distinct from rodents because they have an extra pair of incisors and other distinguishing features and behviors.
Rodentia is the order of rodents. This is a different order than Lagomorpha, which contains the families Leporidae and Ochotonidae. Rabbits and Hares belong to Leporidae, and are Leporids.