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28 Common Types of Rodents In and Around Your Home


Rodents are mammals that are characterized by a single pair of front teeth that keep growing throughout their lifetime. They make up 40% of all mammal species.

They can be found in large numbers in six continents excluding Antarctica. Due to their survival instincts that allow them to survive in the wild and in human-made environments, they are considered as the most diversified mammalian species out there.

They are also characterized by their affinity to burrow and dig in the ground to make homes for themselves or search for food sources. They usually have small bodies and long tails.

Most rodents survive on a diet of plant material like nuts or fruits, or seeds, but some can have varied diets such as a predisposition towards meat and dairy products.

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Why feature the different types of rodents on a home and garden site?

Because, rodents can be a nuisance in and around the home.

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Different Types of Rodents List

Below you will find a list of rodents that includes:

  • Rodent examples
  • Rodent types
  • Common rodents


Rats huddled together under a table

types of rats chart


Rats are the most commonly identified rodents in the world. They are easily differentiated from mice due to their size and color. They have grey fur and long tails.

Most common rodents discovered in houses and commercial buildings are usually referred to as rats. The term has acquired a negative connotation throughout history due to rats being the carriers of the bubonic plague which is also known as the Black Death.


Mus hiding in the kitchen

types of mice chart

Mus is a genus of rodents that are usually referred to as mice. Though they can relate to other rodent species, mice are generally some of the most well-known rodent species in the world. A mouse is a small rodent with a high breeding rate and can be found in the wild as well as in domestic settings. They are kept as pets and are known to be common animals for medical experimentation.


Hamster eating a meal

Hamsters are known most commonly kept as house pets, especially in the western hemisphere. They are considered some of the cutest rodent species out there. They are characterized as being small and fat and come in several different colors. They have short tails, and their feet are covered with thick fur. They are quite fragile and are susceptible to changes in temperature, both hot and cold. They have poor eyesight and are colorblind. They use their sense of smell to locate food and differentiate between the sexes.


Squirrel climbing a tree

Squirrels are commonly known as wild rodents that are found in forests and jungles, but also in gardens and parks. Several types of squirrels such as tree squirrels, ground squirrels, flying squirrels, chipmunks, and marmots exist and can be found in different parts of the world.

They usually have a bushy tail and live in trees. They have a diet that consists of various types of nuts that they are habitual of storing in trees or in the ground.


Chinchilla in a den

A chinchilla has the densest coat of fur of any mammal living on land. It is only beaten by the sea otter which has a denser coat. It has become quite rare due to excessive hunting in the 19th century and can be found in southwestern South America.

They live in burrows and crevices within rocks and can jump very high up to six feet. They are usually considered prey for hawks and falcons, skunks, felines, snakes and canines.


Gerbils huddle together

Gerbils similar to hamsters are considered as popular house pets. They aren’t considered aggressive, and they rarely bite unless provoked. They are small and easy to handle and are very sociable.

They have a very specialized excretory system that has developed to conserve fluids and minimize waste. This makes them very clean pets and hence, considered as one of the cutest rodents.

Gerbils have a thick coat of fur, small ears, and small toes. This is a rodent with a long tail which make up half of their total length


Beaver looking up

Beavers are usually found in the wild and have a very distinctive appearance. They have a flat, hardtail, with hunched backs and protruding noses. They usually have brown fur and build dams on the river.

They are the second largest rodents on earth after the capybara. Their populations have declined sharply over the years due to them being hunted for their glands and fur. The former are used for medicine and perfumes, and the latter are used for clothing.


Coypu sitting on the ground

It’s excessive feeding and burrowing. Its endurance is considered pestilential to human occupation. It can be recognized immediately by its dark coat of fur around the body, white patch of fur around the mouth, and protruding orange teeth.


Gopher sitting on the grass

Gophers are common to North and Central America. They are known to tunnel excessively and live in holes. They weigh around half a pound and grow to about 6 to 8 inches in length.

They can live for up to three years on average and 5 years at maximum. However, some have been documented in the wild to be as much as 7 years old.

They have a brown fur coat that matches the color of the soil they live in. They are recognized by the large cheek pouches they have and their small hairy tails.


Agouti sitting on the grass

The agouti is a rodent species closely related to guinea pigs. They look very similar but have longer legs and are larger in size. They have come in different colors of fur such as reddish, brown, orange, grayish, blackish, etc. They can grow up to be 24 inches in length and have brown fur on their backs and white fur on their bellies.


Lemming resting on rocks

A lemming is a small rodent that is found in cold places like the frozen tundra. Lemmings usually measure around 5-7 inches in length and weigh around 20 to 30 grams.

They have a rounded shape and are brown and black in color. They have a short tail and a hairy snout. They have short legs and small ears. They eat plants and moss but can also forage for berries and bulbs.


Dormouse swinging on a stem

The Dormouse is known for its long periods of hibernation. It has a particularly long tail compared to its body and can cling to small plants quite easily due to its lightweight.

They are lightly furry, and agile. They are omnivorous so they can feast on berries, fruits, flowers, and insects. They lack premolars, but their dental formula is similar to squirrels. The Dormouse gained popularity amongst the masses due to  Lewis Carroll’s classic novel, Alice in Wonderland.


Muroid sitting

The Muroids are a large family of rodents that include hamsters, gerbils, rats, and voles. They can be found across six continents barring Antarctica. They consist of six families, 19 subfamilies, and around 1750 species.



Cavies are a family of rodents that are exclusively found in South America. They include the largest living rodent, the Capybara, and can be found across the moist savanna to the thorn forests and scrub deserts.

They have heavy bodies and large heads, and almost none of them have tails. They range in size from cavies at 22 centimeters to the capybara at 134 centimeters.


Arvicolinae sitting on a piece of wood

These are a subfamily of rodents that include muskrats and lemmings. They are the most populous group of rodents in the northern hemisphere and are found in fossil occlusions of bones cached by predators like owls and other birds of prey.

Their fossils are often used for dating archaeological sites in North America and Europe. Their molars are particularly fascinating, having cusps in the shape of alternating triangles.


Black Degu

The Octodon Degu is a rodent found in Chile. It is larger than a golden hamster but smaller than a fancy rat. It is a small animal, 25 to 31 centimeters in length and 400g in weight.

It has yellow-brown fur and has creamy yellow fur below the belly. Its tail is thin, with a tufted, black tip, and dark, sparsely furred ears. Its hind feet are bristled, and its check teeth are shaped like the number eight, which is why it’s called an octodon degu.

Lowland paca

Lowland paca sitting on the ground

The lowland paca is a large rodent that is found in Central America and South America. It is closely related to the agouti and has coarse fur. It has dark brown to black fur on the upper body and lighter, yellowish fur on the belly.

It has three to 5 rows of white spots on the sides which are covered by dark grey fur. It can weigh between 6 to 12 kilos and can live to about 13 years. They reach maturity at about the age of a year.

Deer Mouse

Deer Mouse rolled up into a ball

The Peromyscus, which is most commonly referred to as the deer mouse, is one of the so called new world mice because they were found in the newly discovered continent of America.

They have larger eyes than normal mice and often have two-tone coloring. They can jump very far in comparison to house mice and can run faster as well. They are prolific carriers of disease, having carried the hantavirus, Lyme disease, and ehrlichiosis.


Mole Rat

The Blemosl or the mole rat is a burrowing rodent that is found strictly in Sub Saharan Africa. The fossil forms are restricted to the African Continent.

They have cylindrical bodies and short limbs. They can range from 9 to 30 centimeters, and weigh from 30 to 1800 g. Blesmols have reduced eyes and ears compared to other fossorial mammals and have short tails, loose skins, and velvety fur.


Dipodidae looking for food

The Dipodidae are found in the northern hemisphere and include 50 species including jerboas, jumping mice and birch mice. They are found in deserts, forests, and grasslands. They are up to 26 centimeters in length and are adapted for jumping due to their long hind legs. They can be bipedal and have exceedingly long tails.


Hutia resting on a tree branch

The Hutia is a large rat that has made its home in the Caribbean islands. They are considered threatened by the IUCN but do remain common and widespread.

They have a length of up to 46 centimeters and weigh less than 2 kg. They have small tails and tout bodies with large heads. They’re herbivorous, but they can consume small animals. They usually nest in trees and crevices instead of burrowing in the ground.

Kangaroo Rat

Kangaroo Rat in the sand

The Kangaroo Rat is native to the western part of North America. It’s given its name due to its bipedal form and its stance that is similar to a kangaroo’s. It hops just like a kangaroo but developed this form of motion independently from that species.

It is commonly referred to as a hopping mouse as well. Adult kangaroo rats weigh between 70 g and 170 g and have long tails which are longer than their bodies. They have fur line cheek pouches that can be used to store food. They are usually dark gray or cinnamon-buff depending on the species.

Pack Rat

Pack rat in the sand

The Pack rat has a rat-like appearance with a long tail and large ears, as well as black eyes. They are larger than deer mice and grasshopper mice and even larger than cotton rats. They resemble overgrown squirrels and are native to the US, Mexico, and the Sonoran desert. They can even be found in the Canadian Rockies.

They usually feed on vegetation, twigs, and shoots. They can also eat seeds, fruits, cacti, and acorns.


Tuco-tuco sitting in the ground

The Tuco-tuco is a rodent that is native to South America and North America. They have cylindrical bodies with very short legs, and they range from black to light grey in color.

They have long forefeet that they use to burrow and bristled hind feet which they use for grooming. They have large heads, small ears, and hairy tails. They can weigh as light as 100 g or as heavy as a kilogram.

They usually live in burrows and spend the vast majority of their lives underground. They represent around 45% of all underground rodents in the world.

Old World Porcupine

Old World Porcupine sniffing

The Old World Porcupine, so called because it is found in Africa, India, Europe, and the Levant. It is very different from the New World Porcupine that is found in the US and South America. Surprisingly both of these rodent species are not closely related.

Old World Porcupines usually are stout, but heavily built. They have rounded heads, mobile snouts and a coat of thick, flattened spines which cover their bodies.

They aren’t intermingled with ordinary hairs. They are herbivorous, eat fruit and roots and even gnaw on dry bones for calcium. While they are usually docile, if provoked, they can be one of the most dangerous rodents in the world.


Gundi standing at alert

The Gundi is a small, stocky rodent that lives in deserts across Africa. It has numerous sub-species that are now extinct. They are still hunted for food. Gundis are small, plump, stout, and have large ears.

They can grow from 17 to 18 centimeters and are covered in fur. They have four toes on all their feet, and their hind feet carry comb-like bristles. Hence they are called comb rats as well. They are herbivorous animals which can eat any type of plant.

They don’t drink water, obtaining all their moisture from their food.

Cane Rat

Cane Rat eating leaves

Cane rats are found in Africa, south of the Sahara desert. They are considered a pest species and are one of the most dangerous rodents in the world for crops. They can range from 35 to 60 centimeters in length and can weigh up to 10 kilograms.

They live in marshy areas along river banks and have bristly brown fur, which is speckled with yellow and grey spots. They attain maturity at 6 months of age and reproduce more than once a year to litters of two or four.


Pedetes munching down

Pedetes are a genus of rodent that resembles both squirrels due to their pointed ears and long bushy tail, and also kangaroos due to their long hind legs. They are found in Southern and Eastern Africa and are nocturnal. They sleep through the day in the burrows they dig. They feed on roots and other vegetable matter.

Rodents are found in nature around the world and are considered as pets, pests, and food as well as luxury prey for their furs. They are found in various shapes and sizes and have attained various skills from long jumps to storing food in their cheeks.

They are some of the fascinating animals on earth due to the diversity in their ranks, and they have adapted well to both domestic and wild environments.

Pet Rodent List

  • chinchillas
  • degus
  • genuine pigs
  • gerbils
  • mice
  • rats

Rodent ownership is increasingly becoming a common decision for individuals all around the world, especially for families with young children or busy people who like low-upkeep pets.

They are a good option. Though not all pet rats are small enough to really fit in a pocket, these creatures are occasionally referred to as “pocket pets.”

Rodents kept as pets don’t live as long as more common animals like cats and dogs. The average lifespan is lower than five years, while certain animals, like the chinchilla, can live for up to ten years.

The most common pet rodents include mice, gerbils, hamsters, and guinea pigs. These creatures can live in a small to medium sized cage or glass aquarium because they require little upkeep.

Small Rodents List

  • beavers
  • blesmols
  • chinchillas
  • coypu
  • capybara
  • chipmunks
  • gerbils
  • genuine pigs
  • hamster
  • mice
  • rats
  • squirrels
  • woodchuck

Rodents are mammals, (i.e. they suckle their young) and have upper and lower pairs of continuously developing, rootless incisor teeth.

The gnawing teeth that rodents have are their particular trait. It is perhaps because of this, that animals having incisors that are constantly gnawing are called rodents.

Rodents make up over half of the 4,660 species that make up the class Mammalia, making them the largest group of mammals. They have a rapid rate of reproduction. As such, the distribution of rodents across the continents is extensive.

They live in warm environments and frequently search for shelter in warm locations. Consequently, they are present almost everywhere, including in households, where they sometimes cause serious harm to property.

Burrowing Rodent List

  • chipmunks
  • coypu
  • gophers
  • groundhogs
  • ground squirrels
  • mice
  • prairie dogs
  • rats
  • voles

Burrowing rodents frequently have physical modifications on their bodies that facilitate burrowing. Usually, these are pointed digging claws, as in the case of the European mole. However, while this is true, it is not always so.

Should you ever find that some kind of rodent has been burrowing in your yard or garden, the first place to start is by eliminating potential rodent suspects based on your area.

For example, cross out prairie dogs off your list if you are east of the Mississippi. Secondly, keep an eye out for specific telltale indicators around the rodent’s burrow entrance.


Why are capybaras rodents?

Capybaras are part of the Caviidae family, which includes guinea pigs, chinchillas, and agouti, a wild forest pig.

Rodents are an incredibly diverse group of animals that have adapted to almost every environment on Earth. They’re found in deserts, mountains, and forests, as well as in the water!

Out of all the rodent types, the Capybara is the largest rodent in the world, reaching a weight of 30 pounds. It is considered to be the rodent equivalent to the hippo, in comparison to rabbits and squirrels.

What rodents can live together?

Some rodent species can live together, but it’s always best to check with a vet before mixing any animals.

Rats, for example, don’t tend to get along well with other rodents like hamsters and guinea pigs. They also don’t get along with mice, 

Chinchillas and guinea pigs can live together if they’re introduced at an early age so that each animal knows who’s boss.

However, it’s important to know that chinchillas are social animals who like to spend time with other chinchillas; this means that if you get a pair of chinchillas, you won’t be able to introduce them to other animals later on.

What rodents burrow underground?

Many rodents burrow underground, but the most common ones in North America are ground squirrels, prairie dogs, and chipmunks. Some rodents may also tunnel under buildings or other structures.

Ground squirrels live in burrows that they dig themselves, while prairie dogs live in communal burrows built by several animals working together.

Chipmunks build their nests in trees or bushes but also use abandoned ground squirrel burrows for shelter.

The most common types of rodents that burrow underground are rats and mice, including the Norway rat (a subspecies of the brown rat). 

Can rodents climb walls?

Rodents can climb, but not all of them. Rats and mice are very good climbers and can climb up walls, trees, and other objects.

Squirrels are also good climbers, although they have been known to fall off buildings when they become disoriented. Moles can dig their tunnels under the ground, but they do not climb as other rodents do.

Can you sell a house with rodents?

The answer to this question is yes. You can sell a house with rodents, but it may not be easy to find buyers for it.

Rodents aren’t just unsightly; they can spread disease and contaminate food supplies. They also leave behind droppings that can cause allergies and asthma.

The best way to get rid of rodents is by hiring an exterminator who specializes in rodent removal.

If you’re selling a home that has been infested with mice or rats, all remaining evidence must be removed before potential buyers view it.

Will composting attract rodents?

Rodents, like rats and mice, are attracted to compost piles because they provide an easy source of food. They love the decaying matter in a compost pile and will happily eat through it in search of food.

Composting can help reduce the number of rodents in your yard, but it’s important to take some precautions to keep them out of your compost bin.

What rodents can be kept as pets?

Some rodents can be kept as pets. These include the guinea pig, hamster, gerbil, rat, and mouse. However, the best rodent to keep is the hamster because it will live longer than other types of rodents.

The only problem with keeping a pet rat or mouse is that they are nocturnal and will be awake all night.

This could disturb your sleep if you are trying to sleep at night. Guinea pigs are also nocturnal but they cannot be kept in groups like other rodents because they fight each other when they get older.

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