Are rabbits rodents? Let’s remove the confusion.
February 3, 2020
Are rabbits rodents is an age-old question and continues today, confusing rabbit guardians too often.
By now, you may already have house rabbits and wonder whether they are rodents or not.
Thus in this post, I will tell you everything you need to know to get rid of all the confusion about your fluffy friends.
The answer to the question: Are rabbits rodents?
No rabbits are not rodents. Until 1912 rabbits were considered rodents, but ultimately zoologists decided to classify rabbits as lagomorphs.
According to Wikipedia:
“Rabbits and hares were formerly classified in the order Rodentia (rodent) until 1912, when they were moved into a new order, Lagomorpha.”
So why is all the confusion about rodents and rabbits until today?
Because not all rabbit owners are zoologists, and being only a rabbit guardian does not mean you will understand the difference between rodents and rabbits.
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Acknowledging rabbits as rodents until the early 20th century was the norm. Rodents exist on this earth for millions of years.
Rabbits and rodents are linked together simply because rabbits are mammals.
Due to the fact, 40% of the species in Rodentia breed are mammals; rabbits are no different.
Being mammal rabbits seem like a rodent too, which is not.
Finally, the zoologists understood the fact that although rabbits and rodents are mammals, there are few key differences.
Both Lagomorphs as rabbits and rodents give birth similarly; however, they do not belong to the same breed.
Why are rabbits not considered rodents?
Most rodents have only four incisor teeth, whereas rabbits have three pairs of incisors. Therefore rabbits can not be considered as rodents.
Similar to rabbits, the four incisor teeth of rodents keep growing throughout their life.
Because rabbits and rodents have open teeth roots, and nothing prevents their teeth from growing.
Hence both rodents and rabbits continuously have to chew on hay and grass to prevent their tooth from growing excessively.
When a rabbit’s incisor tooth grows too long, it becomes excruciating for the rabbit.
As a responsible rabbit guardian, you will always have to provide your fluffy friend with adequate hay and grass.
RELATED: Best hay for rabbits.
Interestingly both rodents and rabbits give birth to multiple babies every time.
The primary source of nutrition for their babies is always from their milk.
Rabbits will nurse their babies daily for 5 mins.
All the necessary nutrition for both rodents and rabbits, healthy growth comes from their milk.
However, I think mentioning rabbits, and a rodent diet is important too. A rabbit is herbivores.
Their primary source of gaining a healthy diet is from only plants, grass, and fruits.
On the other hand, rodents are herbivores, and some are carnivores. Omnivores rodents are common too.
Rodents can survive by eating anything they can find. Rodents can eat both plants and meat.
Rabbits do not have any canine teeth, and it is not suitable for rabbits to have meat. Rabbits have two incisors on their upper jaw and a pair of tusks in their lower jaw.
They also have two small incisor teeth just behind the upper incisors.
RELATED: Dental anatomy of rabbits.
Why often are rabbits confused with rats?
Lagomorphs and rodents are related to each other. But yes, they have many differences, as mentioned previously in this article.
There is no way rabbits can be confused with except for the similarity in their sizes.
They have a similar size because they are distant cousins.
Finding evidence in recent years supports the claim that rats and rabbits are somehow genetically related.
Discovering a fossilized tooth of a new genus of rodent changed everything. This particular fossilized tooth shows patterns similar to both rodents and lagomorphs.
Seeing the fossilized tooth, zoologists recognized similarities in their tooth enamel too.
It means probably rabbits and rats they are distant cousin but today evolved into two different species.
NY times has published an article on the topic here >>> Read Here.
However, as I have mentioned earlier, both the rabbits and rodents have similar gnawing issues.
If you are a rabbit guardian, you will know what I am trying to say here.
RELATED: How to bunny proof your house?
Critical characteristics of rodents include:
A pair of incisors on each jaw, incisors grow continuously, no canine teeth.
Some examples of rodents are:
Characteristics of Lagomorpha animals are dense fur and herbivores animals. At least a pair of incisors on the upper jaw and a pair bottom, which keep growing throughout their lifetime.
Some examples of Lagomorpha animals are:
Having many friends who own rabbits, I know many owners asked me this question are rabbits rodents?
There are several resources online which you can find to determine the differences between rodents and lagomorphs.
However, not much information is available about rabbits and rodents altogether.
I hope this article explains everything why rabbits are not rodents.
Regardless both rabbits and rodents are cute animals, but they have their differences.