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RODENTS

MYOMORPH RODENTS

     These rodents include mice and rats, composing more than one quarter of all mammalian species.    The harvest mouse can weigh as little as 6 grams and the Phillipine slender tailed cloud rat can weigh 2 kg.

FAMILY MURIDAE

    Family Muridae consists of Old World mice and rats which were brought to the New World with human migrations here.  They widespread in areas which are densely populated with people.

FAMILY CRICETIDAE

     The family Cricetidae includes mice, rats, lemmings, and voles.  The body lengths of these small rodents typically fall between 2 and 10 inches.  They may have 4 or 5 fingers and their tails are narrow rather than bushy.  Voles have short tails and ears. 

muridae

CAVIOMORPH RODENTS

Caviomorph rodents can vary from 17 cm in length to the pig-sized capybaras.  Pregnancy lasts relatively longer in this group of rodents and the young are born in a more advanced state.

 

FAMILY ERETHIZONTIDAE

     New World porcupines do not move rapidly and prefer to be in trees rather than on the ground.  They are more active at night than in the day and are the only American mammals with quills.  Porcupines feed on buds, twigs, and inner tree bark.  The following images are of the quills of two South American porcupines.

skulls
porcupines porcupines

FAMILY CAVIDAE

    The family Cavidae includes the domestic guinea pig in addition to large and small wild species of rodent.  Some burrow while others to not.  Females seem to ovulate only when males are present.  Species of the genus Dolichotis inhabit the pampas of Argentina and some have long legs which allow them to reach speeds of 45 km/h (28 mph).

RODENT

rodent
cavidae skulls

FAMILY AGOUTIDAE

     Pacas can reach more than 80 cm in length and 10 kg in weight.  They live in forests although they can feed on crops.

skull

skull

FAMILY DASYPROCTIDAE

     Pacas (family Agoutidae) and agoutis (family Dasyproctidae) are closely related. 

rodents

FAMILY CHINCHILLIDAE

     Chinchillas have been hunted for their fur and are now rare.

 

FAMILY CTENOMYIDAE

     Tuco-tucos dig an extensive network of burrows.