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Latest Rodent Stories

Whiskers Were An Important Evolutionary Milestone For Mammals
2011-11-11 12:53:35

Researchers have found that moveable whiskers on rats and mice were an important milestone in the evolution of mammals from reptiles. The team used high-speed digital video recording and automatic tracking to discover how rodents move their whiskers back-and-forth at high speed. This behavior, known as whisking, allows mice or rats to accurately determine the position, shape and texture of objects, make decisions about objects, and use the information to build environmental maps. The...

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2011-08-03 11:05:00

Researchers studying the African Crested Rat have found that it uses an ingenious tool to ward off predators. The rodent consumes a poisonous plant toxin and spits the saliva onto sponge-like hairs on its fur. Jonathan Kingdon and colleagues from the National Museums of Kenya, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and University of Oxford published their observations of this study online in the Proceedings of The Royal Society B. When attacked by predators, the rat puts on a dramatic...

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2011-05-24 14:10:00

By Margaret Allen, Southern Methodist University Birch mouse is now 9 million years older than previously known and migrated from Asia to North America Tiny fossil teeth discovered in Inner Mongolia are a new species of birch mouse, indicating that ancestors of the small rodent are much older than previously reported, according to paleontologist Yuri Kimura, Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Fossils of the new species were discovered in sediments that are 17 million years old, said...

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2011-05-21 07:40:00

What was thought to be lost is now found again. Two volunteer naturalists visiting a nature reserve in Colombia came across the mysterious guinea pig-sized rodent species, which scientists have thought to be extinct. Lizzie Noble and Simon McKeon, volunteers with the ProAves Foundation, were just about to turn in for the night on May 4, when the nocturnal red-crested tree rat stopped by for a visit. The rodent stayed for two hours, just watching as the volunteer biologists photograph it and...

2011-04-19 09:15:00

BISMARCK, N.D., April 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Ahh--April. It's Earth Month and also National Pest Management Month, which together bring to mind mice and rats, the most destructive, annoying creatures on Planet Earth. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101007/CG78327LOGO) Rodents do hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of damage in the U.S. every year. They shred wire, plastic, fabric, and wood. They can infect humans and pets with 60 known diseases. One amorous mouse couple...

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2010-12-21 11:21:00

Margaret Allen, Southern Methodist University Rodents get a bad rap as vermin and pests because they seem to thrive everywhere. They have been one of the most common mammals in Africa for the past 50 million years. From deserts to rainforests, rodents flourished in prehistoric Africa, making them a stable and plentiful source of food, says paleontologist Alisa J. Winkler, an expert on rodent and rabbit fossils. Now rodent fossils are proving their usefulness to scientists as they help shed...

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2010-10-12 23:26:30

University of Florida researchers presenting new fossil evidence of an exceptionally well-preserved 55-million-year-old North American mammal have found it shares a common ancestor with rodents and primates, including humans.The study, scheduled to appear in the Oct. 11 online edition of the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, describes the cranial anatomy of the extinct mammal, Labidolemur kayi. High resolution CT scans of the specimens allowed researchers to study minute details in...

2009-12-07 10:27:00

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- (TERMINIX) - Homeowners are heading indoors for winter, and unfortunately rodents are following close behind. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090327/CL89887LOGO-e) Experts estimate rodents scurry into 21 million American homes each winter, searching for food and shelter during the harshest months of the year. Rodents can get into homes through surprisingly small openings. A gap the size of a quarter is large enough for a rat to...


Latest Rodent Reference Libraries

African Pygmy Mouse, Mus minutoides
2012-05-15 07:41:59

The African pygmy mouse (Mus minutoides) can be found in the sub-Saharan areas of Africa. This mouse, perhaps the smallest of all rodents, can also be found living as pets around the world. Being social creatures, African pygmy mice will live in colonies preferably around water in grassy areas. When kept as pets, the mice cannot be left alone. Although the underbelly of the African pygmy mouse is a pale white, the rest of fur is colored reddish orange. The triangular ears, although small,...

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2007-06-25 10:10:28

The Patagonian Mara, Dolichotis patagonum, is a relatively large rodent found in Central and Southern Argentina. Maras inhabit arid grasslands and scrub desert. Maras like to live in burrows and will occasionally inhabit burrows that already exist from other animals. They are herbivorous. The Patagonian Mara is from the Family Caviidae, which includes cavies, such as their larger relative the capybara, and guinea pigs. Patagonian Maras are closely related to the other member of the...

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2007-06-25 09:52:12

The Little Swan Island Hutia, Geocapromys thoracatus, was native to Little Swan Island, off north-eastern Honduras in the Caribbean. The ancestors of the species may have been carried to the island from Jamaica, 5,000-7,000 years ago. It may have been a subspecies of the Jamaican hutia (Geocapromys browni). The Little Swan Island Hutia was a slow-moving, guinea pig-like rodent and probably emerged from caves and limestone crevices to forage on bark, small twigs and leaves. It was fairly...

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2007-06-25 09:47:57

The African Pouched Rat, Cricetomys emini, also known as Emin's Rat, is a large rodent in the muroid super family. It is related to the Gambian Pouched Rat. They are native to Africa and are found along the edges of forests and along the plains. Emin's rats are actually better climbers than their better known Gambian pouch rat cousins. These pouched rats are named for having cheek pouches much like a hamster. The African Pouched Rat has a distinct line of color difference between their...

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2006-12-26 10:49:42

Chinchillas and their relative's viscachas are small, twilight rodents native to the Andes Mountains in South America. They belong to the family Chinchillidae. Chinchilla fur is considered the softest in the world and is thirty times softer than human hair. Chinchillas must regularly bathe in dust or volcanic ash to remove oil and moisture that gathers in their thick fur. They have the highest fur density of any land animal with more than 20,000 hairs per square cm. Their fur is so dense...

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Word of the Day
penuche
  • A fudgelike confection of brown sugar, cream or milk, and chopped nuts.
'Penuche' is a variant of 'panocha,' a coarse grade of sugar made in Mexico. 'Panocha' probably comes from the Spanish 'panoja, panocha,' ear of grain.
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