Why are Rabbits Not Rodents?
Understanding the family tree of animals can seem like a confusing task. Instantly understanding why certain critters belong to one group and not another is not always easy. One of the more common areas of confusion is with the understanding of why rabbits are not rodents.
What is a Rodent?
Rodents belong to the order Rodentia, which includes creatures like mice, rats, and squirrels. They are primarily distinguished from other animals by having a single pair of upper and lower incisors on both sides of the upper and lower jaw which consistently grows throughout their lives.
What is a Rabbit?
Rabbits belong to the order Lagomorpha and are identified by their characteristic long ears and large hind legs. Rabbit’s teeth are also a good way to differentiate them from rodents; their three incisors in their upper jaw, rather than the rodents single pair, help to visually distinguish a rabbit from a rodent.
Rabbits differ from rodents in more ways than just physical characteristics.
- Diet: Rabbits are herbivores and feed primarily on vegetation. Rodents also feed on vegetation but are often much more omnivorous and can even be carnivorous.
- Size: Rabbits are much larger than the average rodent, and their fur is often much softer and fluffier.
- Behavior: Rabbits tend to be more social and less aggressive than rodents. They will also form social bonds with other rabbits, while rodents are less likely to do so.
In summary, while both rodents and rabbits have similar characteristics, they belong to entirely different classes. This is because they differ in their diet, size and behavior. Rabbits can be easily identified by their three incisors, long ears, and large hind legs, while rodents have distinct single pairs of incisors and a more omnivorous diet.