A lot of people find it hard to classify rabbits. Some people believe that rabbits are rodents. What do you think? Are they rodents, or belong in a different classification of animals? Alright, only science has the answer to that.
Taxonomy classifies living organisms into a kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. By nature, rabbits are wild animals, but you can domesticate and tame them.
They are in the order Lagomorpha. The other animals in that order are hares and pikas. Apart from being pets, they are very hairy animals that can serve as meat, and you can sell them to gain income.
We have learned enough about rabbits. Now, we need to know how to recognize a rodent when we see one.
Rodents are mammals too, and they are not as small as people believe. They range from the springhare to the giant capybara. “Rodents” is gotten from the word “Rodentia,” which is the order of such types of animals. Almost every rodent resembles a rat, and they could serve as meat too.
Now, how do you know a rodent? What are the peculiar features of a rodent?
When you take a look at a rodent, you see many features. Some of them are short fore, hind limbs, and tails, which could be long or short.
You also notice plenty of furs. A rodent’s incisors do not stop growing.
By this, we mean that the incisors of a rodent continue growing. It is only worn out by consistent chewing or gnawing of hard substances. This is a process called attrition. This feature distinguishes a rodent.
We have discussed the features of a rabbit and that of a rodent. Before we proceed to answer the question, you should note this.
In times past, scientists considered rabbits under the same order with rodents. This is because the incisors of rabbits also keep growing like that of rodents.
In 1912, scientists classified rabbits under a different order, “Lagomorpha.” Upon closer examination, they noticed some differences between the rabbit and the rodents.
Rabbits often practice coprophagy. This is a system where they eat their droppings again for proper digestion. Rodents do not practice this.
Also, when we look into the dentition of a rabbit, we notice two more incisors behind the two upper incisors. These can call them auxiliary incisors. This brings the total number of incisors in rabbits to six, while rodents have only four.
With all these facts, we can say that a rabbit is not a rodent.
We do hope we have cleared your doubts. A rabbit is not a rodent. Although a rabbit has a lot of features that are like that of a rodent, we cannot classify it as a rodent.
Animal scientists refer to them as cousins because they have very few differences. You will not notice them unless you examine them thoroughly.