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Things you should definitely know about Rodents

Rodents are mammals characterized by upper and lower pairs of ever-growing rootless incisor teeth. Rodents are the largest group of mammals, constituting almost half of the class Mammalia’s approximately 4,660 species. This is a list of selected rodents, arranged alphabetically by suborder and family.

General features

All rodents possess constantly growing rootless incisors that have a hard enamel layer on the front of each tooth and softer dentine behind. The differential wear from gnawing creates perpetually sharp chisel edges. Rodents’ absence of other incisors and canine teeth results in a gap, or diastema, between incisors and cheek teeth, which number from 22 (5 on each side of the upper and lower jaws) to 4, may be rooted or rootless and ever-growing, and may be low- or high-crowned. The nature of the jaw articulation ensures that incisors do not meet when food is chewed and that upper and lower cheek teeth (premolars and molars) do not make contact while the animal gnaws. Powerful and intricately divided masseter muscles, attached to jaw and skull in different arrangements, provide most of the power for chewing and gnawing.

Are Rodent Rats Good Mothers?

Rats Get A Bad Rap … But According To Science They’re Actually Incredible Mamas. This browser does not support the video tag. Rat mothers that nurture their pups aren’t just being good moms — they’re also influencing how the babies’ brains form, according to a new study in the journal Current Biology.

The babies have to be separated 4 to 4.5 weeks after their birth. The does (female babies) may stay with their mother, but you need a second cage for the males.

Baby mice recognize their mamas, just like human infants do. And researchers have found that mouse pups form memories of their mothers that last into adulthood.

Mother rodents provide both direct parental care, such as nursing, grooming, retrieving and huddling, and indirect parenting, such as food caching, nest building and protection to their offspring.

Why mother rodents protect their children?

While the neural mechanisms that give rise to different defensive responses are relatively well understood, the vast majority of studies reported to date have been based solely on experiments on male subjects. Moreover, the parental status of the animals was often neglected. Female rats are generally considered less territorial than males, but their behavior changes once they become mothers (also known as ‘dams’) and they can become aggressive towards potentially dangerous intruders, even if this will also place the dam in danger (Bosch, 2013). How does the brain switch between self-defense and offspring-defense modes? Is the defensive repertoire affected by the age of the pups? Now, in eLife, Marta Moita and colleagues – including Elizabeth Rickenbacher as first author, Rosemarie Perry and Regina Sullivan – report that, in the presence of pups, self-defense responses are suppressed by the presence of a hormone called oxytocin in a region of the brain called the central amygdala (Rickenbacher et al., 2017).

Oxytocin is a well known hormone that promotes social bonding and causes contractions of the uterus and cervix during sexual intercourse and childbirth, as well as milk ejection during breastfeeding. More recently it was discovered that oxytocin can also control freezing behavior (Knobloch et al., 2012). In general oxytocin is released into the blood. However, in the case of the fear response, oxytocin is secreted directly into the central amygdala, which is one of the structures in the brain that controls freezing behavior (Wilensky et al., 2006).

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