Are Rabbits Rodents?

Rabbits are not rodents. 

Although their teeth are similar to those of rodents, they are not the same. Rabbits also have a strictly herbivorous diet.

They have long back legs compared to the short limbs of rodents. They also have other distinct features – such as long ears and a complete lack of paw pads.

Rabbits are also classified differently from rodents, although this wasn’t the case one hundred years ago.

Differences Between Rabbits and Rodents

LagomorphsRodentiaCheek teeth look similar as both eat plant matter
Belong to the same group as hares and pikasSame group as mice, rats, squirrels, guinea pigs, prairie dogs, porcupines, and hamsters.Have large, chisel-shaped, ever-growing incisors
Incisors lined with a single enamelIncisors lined with enamel and dentineHave an enlarged cecum to digest plant matter
Unpigmented incisorsOrange-yellow to orange incisorsEat their own feces
Two pairs of upper incisorsOne pair of upper incisorsBoth eat plant matter
Strictly herbivorousMay eat animal matterPlacental mammals (have placenta during gestation)
Have high-crowned cheek teethOnly some rodents have this featureHave short breeding cycles
Maxillary fenestrations presentMaxillary fenestrations absentGive birth to multiple live young
Baculum (penis bone) absentBaculum presentNewborns feed on mother’s milk for nutrition
Short tailsMany have long tailsBoth love to gnaw

What type of animal is a rabbit?

Since we know that rabbits are not rodents, what type of animal are they? Rabbits are lagomorphs, part of a different biological order which is not as diverse as Rodentia.

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In fact, within the Lagomorpha order, there are only three family groups: rabbits, hares, and pikas.

Rabbits and hares make up the Leporidae family, whereas pikas are the sole extant animal in the Ochotonidae family.

What are rodents?

When we discuss rodents, we are talking about a mammalian group of the biological order Rodentia.

This order includes a multitude of different species both extant and extinct. Currently, there are around 2,300 rodent species spread out across the world.

Rodents are considered to be the most varied mammal groups with around 6,400 extant species currently recognized.

Some of the most commonly recognized rodents include:

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Squirrels
  • Guinea pigs
  • Hamsters
  • Gerbils
  • Chipmunks