Different Types of Rodents | All You Need To Know!

Rodents are the largest order of mammals including 2500 living species. Yes, it’s almost half of all mammals! By this, we can easily understand that the order is bigger than our thoughts.

While they are large in numbers, they live from deserts to Arctic Tundra- almost everywhere in the world except Antarctica. Their ever-growing rootless incisors are what makes them different from the other animals.

And today, we will talk about different types of rodents, from their suborders to the most common types of rodents we see. We have tried to keep it comprehensive yet neat for you, take a look!

Types of Rodents!

Suborders of the Rodents

There are more than 1500 rodent species as we have mentioned above and their range is vast too.

However, it’s not possible to discuss all of them in this short space. So, we have decided to talk about the suborders first and then discuss the family.

Looking at the order of Rodentia, we can clearly say that there are 5 different suborders of rodents. Let’s check out the suborders first.

Different Types of Rodents

1. Myomorpha

This suborder of Rodentia includes mice and rats. They look almost the same! Do you remember the water rats and muskrats?

Yes, they are also listed in Myomorpha. The hamsters and lemmings are also included in this suborder. Voles, lemmings, jerboas, gerbils, etc. are listed here too.

2. Sciuromorpha

The next in line is the Sciuromorpha suborder of Rodents where you will see the squirrels.  Besides, the prairie dogs and dormice are listed in this section.

If you are interested to know which suborder the chipmunks and marmots are from, you are in the right place! They too belong to Sciuromorpha.

3. Castorimorpha

The largest rodents in North America, the beavers, are from this suborder. Castorimorpha also includes kangaroo rats and kangaroo mice. Also, the gophers are listed here.

4. Hystricomorpha

This rodent suborder has guinea pigs and mole rats on the list. Also, the cane rats and cavies are included here.

Not only small or medium rodents, but Hystricomorpha also includes large rodents.

Yes, the largest rodent in the world, the Capybara is one of the species on this list. Besides, porcupines, chinchillas, coypus, porcupines, etc are from this suborder.

5. Anomaluromorpha

The last and final suborder of the rodent is the Anomaluromorpha where another squirrel is listed- the scaly-tailed flying squirrel.

Also, the spring hares are in this category. Almost all of them are only found in Africa.

Types of Common Rodents

So, how many types of rodents are there? Well, if we count the species, there are more than 1500 types of rodents in the Rodentia order.

But we can’t address them all in this small-scale section. And so, we have decided to discuss the most common rodent types here.

1. Rats

There are close to 56 rat species when it comes to counting them. However, we have only discussed the most common rat types that fall into the Rodentia order here. Take a look-

Norway Rat

These rats are the most common ones and are found indoors and outdoors. They have a 10-inch long body but they can grow their tail to another 10 inches too.

Often known as pests, they will chew almost anything in your house. They prefer living in basements, and woodpiles, and are mostly found in the US.

However, they are the natives of northern China. Don’t confuse the Norway rats with mice, they are different.

The Norway rats or the brown rats are almost found on every continent but you can’t get to see them in Antarctica.

Roof Rats

Another rat called the roof rat, slightly darker than the Norway rats is also a common rodent. They are often called black rats or house rats.

Roof rats prefer to live in the upper parts of your buildings. However, the urban areas are their favorite.

They are the natives of Southeast Asia but now, are found all over the world. Their thinner yet longer body makes them different from the Norway rats.


Another rat named the muskrat is found near the water body. This specific rodent is semi-aquatic and has a hairless tail. It is close to the size of a rat but prefers living in large colonies.

These natives of North America prefer living in wooded swamps, streams, lakes, etc. They are also found in some parts of Europe, South America, and Asia now.

2. Mice

Among the rodents, another small species is the mice. The list of mice is long- there are house mice, deer mice, white-footed mice, western-harvest mice, etc.

If we count, there are more or less 1100 species of mice in this world. We will only describe a few here.

House Mice

House mice are found in almost every house. They are small and grey to light brown in color.

In the U.S. they are one of the most found rodents and are usually mentioned as pests. They have a rapid reproduction rate.

Deer Mice

On the other hand, the deer mice are small too but they live in rural areas. When the temperature is low, they can get into your house too.

They prefer northern boreal forests, grassland, desert, brushland, etc. From Alaska to northern Canada- they are found almost everywhere in North America.

White-footed Mice

These are found in the eastern United States and also in North America. They prefer warm and dry forests living.

These mice are quite adaptable and are also called woodmouse. This name came from their preference for living in wooded areas and semi-desert ones.

3. Squirrels

This type includes three different squirrels- ground squirrels, tree squirrels, and flying squirrels.

This family also includes chipmunks and prairie dogs are included here too. The most seen squirrel is the tree squirrel found in the US and almost in the entire world.

They have grey to tan fur and a bushy tail. The squirrels have killed gnawers and they carry significant health risks.

4. Chipmunks

These are included in the family of squirrels, as we have mentioned above. As they are quite common, we are discussing them separately.

They got black and tan stripes on their body. You can easily identify them by seeing their chubby cheeks and twitching tails.

Chipmunks are available in almost 50 states and are mostly found in the mountains, forests, and deserts. Their range is from Canada to Mexico and they hibernate in the winter. Learn more here

5. Groundhog

Mostly known as woodchucks, groundhogs are among one the most common rodents. Often gophers are mistakenly considered groundhogs but they are different.

They are larger and heavier, no doubt. The body of the groundhogs contains grizzled brown fur.

This species can get as long as two feet! Often found in the eastern and central United States, you can get to see them across Canada! Learn more here

6. Beavers

Another semi-aquatic rodent is the beaver, the largest rodent in North America. This is native to the Northern Hemisphere.

They are the second largest rodents in the entire Rodentia order. You will find two different extant species, one of North America and the other is the Eurasian Beaver.

Ponds, lakes, marshes, streams, and any water body is their preferred place to live. They have yellow-brown to black coats and their tail is scaly, broad, and flat. Their webbed feet are one of their crucial features.

7. Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are rodents that are now domesticated and prove themselves as amazing pets. They belong to the genus Cavia.

The body of this species consists of a large head and eyes but short limbs and ears. The major feature of this animal is its short sharp claws and hairless soles of the feet. They are natives of the Andes Mountains of South America.

Some of them can be found in the forests and deserts in the wild and most Savannas. However, now most of them are domesticated.

8. Capybaras

The largest of all rodents in this world is the capybara resembling the cavy and the guinea pig. They have short-haired brown bodies with short legs and ears.

The funny part is they have a tail which is no tail at all! Living in groups, this species resides along the banks of rivers, lakes, and other water bodies.

This semi-aquatic rodent is found in Peru, Panama, Colombia, Brazil, Northeast Argentina, and various locations.

9. Porcupines

If we have to make a list of the large rodents, porcupines fall in it too. An interesting fact about this species is that their coat is constructed with sharp spines or quills.

This helps them from their predators. Two families, the old world porcupines of the family Hystricidae and the New World porcupines of the family Erethizontidae, are included in this type.

This round-bodied species are found in different parts of Southern Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Asia. Their preferred place to live is in the rocky outcrops, hillsides, deserts, and forests.

Where the Old World Porcupines love the rocky environments, the New World ones have a fondness for the trees.

10. Hamster

Hamsters are a subfamily of rodents and are mostly known as small house pets. Their stout body and short tails make them different.

They have got stocky legs along with wide feet and furry ears. The coat of the hamster can vary from black to honey, yellow to brown, and at times mixed.

This species was found first in Syria but they are found in Greece, northern China, Belgium, and Romania now. Hamsters prefer dry areas like sand dunes or the edge of deserts to live. Learn more here

Wrap Up

Apart from these rodents, you will also see or hear the names of marmots, gerbils, voles, agouti, gophers, murids, nutria, chinchilla, paca, and hundreds of other rodents.

We have kept the list shorter so that you can take the major ideas on different types of rodents and their features.

Also, if you want to know a little more about the other rodents, make sure you let us know. We will surely update you. And don’t forget to check out our site, we talk about rodents because we love them!