Boop! These Are The Cutest Rodents In The World

cutest rodents in the world

Rodents are some of the most popular animals in the world and millions of people keep them as pets. They are also some of the cutest animals in the world. That’s why I’ve decided to make a list of the cutest rodents in the world and I can tell you, it was not an easy task as there are so many of these small, and not so small rodents (I’m looking at you capybara) that are just adorable.

Pygmy Jerboa & Long-Eared Jerboa

pygmy jerboa - cutest rodents
Pygmy jerboa – cutest rodents

The Baluchistan pygmy jerboa, or the dwarf three-toed jerboa (Salpingotulus michaelis) is a species of rodent in the family Dipodidae and is one of the 33 species of this hopping rodent. Adults average only 4.4 cm in head and body length, with the tail averaging 8 cm.

Read my post Top 10 Largest Rodents In The World to see how they compare to the biggest rodents out there.

Jerboas look somewhat like miniature kangaroos as they have many similarities. For example, they both have long hind legs and very short forelegs and long tails. Jerboas move around their environment the same way a kangaroo does, which is by hopping and they also use their tail to balance when hopping and as a prop when sitting upright just like a kangaroo.

Pygmy jerboas are desert rodents that mainly live in the hot deserts found throughout Northern Africa and East Asia to Northern China. Jerboas don’t drink water because they get all the moisture from their food which consists mostly of plants and insects. That helps because, as I’m sure you’re aware, there’s not much water in the desert.

Did you know that these small Pokemons can run at 16 miles per hour and can jump several feet both vertically and horizontally.

I was torn about which of these two jerboas to put on the list of the cutest rodents, so I’ve decided to put both of them.

long-eared jerboa - cutest rodents
Long-eared jerboa – cutest rodents

The long-eared jerboa (Euchoreutes naso) is a nocturnal mouse-like rodent with a long tail, long hind legs for jumping, same as pygmy jerboa but it also has exceptionally large ears. In fact, with ears that are two-thirds as long as its body, this desert rodent has the largest ears relative to size in the animal kingdom.

Are jerboas deadly? Jerboas have been barred from entering the United States since 2003 since they were associated with monkeypox. Monkeypox is similar to smallpox and can be fatal in up to 10% of cases. There is currently no available treatment for monkeypox.

Chinchilla

These cute rodents formerly occupied the coastal regions, hills, and mountains of Chile, Peru, Argentina, and Bolivia. Now they may be extinct or are heading for extinction. In their native habitats, chinchillas live in burrows or crevices in rocks and are agile jumpers that can jump up to 6 ft (1.8 m).

There are two species of chinchilla: the short-tailed chinchilla and the long-tailed chinchilla. Any attempts to domesticate the short-tailed chinchilla have failed so all domestic chinchillas are descended from the long-tailed chinchilla.

Thanks to its soft fur, its long ears, and its bushy tail, chinchillas are popular pets, though they require extensive exercise and dental care, due to them being rodents, their teeth continually grow throughout their lifespan.

Chinchillas are easily distressed, and when they are unhappy, similar to humans, they may exhibit physical symptoms.

Chinchillas are just adorable, aren’t they? It really is a shame that they are used in a cruel way by the fur industry. As many as 150 chinchillas are needed for a full-length coat. Their fur is popular due to its extremely soft feel. Luckily, many countries have started to ban fur-farming. Both species of chinchilla are currently listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to a severe population loss approximated at a 90% global population loss over the last 15 years.

Capybara

How freakin’ cute is this capybara

OK, I’ll admit it, I have a bias towards capybaras. They are my favorite animals (please don’t tell my two cats) but they are also the world’s largest rodents. And being so damn cute while being so big is no small feat.

Capybaras are grazing animals, just like cows, and grasses form the staple of their diet that also includes aquatic plants, as well as fruit and tree bark. They are giant cavy rodents native to South America that are also called capivara (in Brazil), chigüire or chigüiro (in Colombia and Venezuela) and carpincho (in Argentina and Uruguay).

Capybaras have a mild temperament and that’s why you’ll see so many pictures of other animals chilling on capybaras back. They get along nicely with other animals/pets including cats and dogs.

largest rodent

In Japan they are called カピバラ and are arguably the country’s favorite animal. One zoo in particular is attributed for making capybaras Japanese bathing superstars: Izu Shaboten Zoo in Shizuoka prefecture. The zoo introduced capybaras to hot springs full of fruit, citrus in particular, and there was no looking back.

Capybaras are demanding pets in that they require constant supervision and preferably a rather large swimming pool as they are semiaquatic animals that spend a lot of their time in water.

Find more posts about capybaras here.

Japanese Dwarf Flying Squirrel & Siberian Flying Squirrel

Two minutes of cuteness

The Japanese dwarf flying squirrel and Siberian flying squirrel are two species of Old World flying squirrels and they are adorable. Flying squirrels are a tribe of 50 species of squirrels in the family Sciuridae. They do not actually fly but are able to glide from one tree to another with the aid of a patagium, a furry, parachute-like membrane that stretches from wrist to ankle while their long tail provides stability in flight. They’ve been seen gliding over 100 meters (109 yards), either to escape a predator or just reach another tree!

They can be found in Japan and in Europe, from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific coast, respectively. Their diet consists of leaves, seeds, cones, buds, sprouts, nuts, berries, and occasionally bird eggs and nestlings.

These cute squirrels are nocturnal, incapable of being housebroken, and – most importantly – not domesticated so don’t even bother to fly to Finland or Japan to get one as a pet. I guess we’ll have to settle to enjoy their cuteness over our screens.

Guinea Pig

guinea pigs - cutest rodents
Guinea pigs – cutest rodents

Just look at them. How cute is that? Despite their common name, guinea pigs are not native to Guinea, nor are they closely biologically related to pigs. We don’t actually know where the name of this South American rodent comes from.

In the west, the domestic guinea pig has enjoyed widespread popularity as a pocket pet, a type of household pet, since its introduction by European traders in the 16th century. I personally know at least five people that have or have had guinea pigs as pets.

They are a popular choice for a pet because they are inexpensive and easy to care for, but not everything is rosy for this beloved pet as they are used for meat and are a culinary staple in the Andes Mountains, where they are known as cuy. Is there anything we will not eat for dinner?!

And then, of course, are the biological experiments. The animals were so frequently used as model organisms in the 19th and 20th centuries that the epithet guinea pig came into use to describe a human test subject. Luckily for guinea pigs, they have been largely replaced by other rodents such as mice and rats.

Be sure to check out Roaring Wild Animal Quotes as well!

Beavers

beavers - cutest rodents
Look at me Ma!

Beaver is the world’s second-largest rodent after capybara and is a cuteness powerhouse. There are two living species of beavers; the North American beaver (Castor canadensis) and the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber).

Beavers are probably best known for building dams and are often called “nature’s engineers”. Their colonies create one or more dams to provide still, deep water to protect against predators and to float food and building material.

They are also known for their alarm signal; when startled or frightened, a swimming beaver will rapidly dive while forcefully slapping the water with its broad tail, audible over great distances above and below water to warn for their fellow beavers.

Beavers are primarily nocturnal. They spend most of their time building and eating. Contrary to popular belief, beavers do not eat fish because they are herbivores. Beavers eat leaves, roots, and bark from aspens, willows, maples, and poplar trees. They also eat aquatic plants.

These cute rodents are very social and live in groups called colonies. One lodge is often the home for a monogamous couple, their young and the yearlings born the year before. How cute is that.

Beavers do not hibernate and remain active throughout the winter and that’s why they need constant food supply during the winter and that’s the reason they have a “fridge” underwater.

Read more about beavers in Do Beavers Really Eat Wood?

Patagonian Mara

patagonian mara - cutest rodents
Patagonian mara – cutest rodents

This cutie is number 10 on the largest rodents in the world list and is a herbivorous, somewhat rabbit-like animal that is found in open and semiopen habitats in Argentina, including large parts of Patagonia. At first glance, this rodent looks like a small deer with long ears, similar to these of a hare. Maras are able to reach speeds of 45km per hour (28 mph).

During active period of the day, Patagonian maras can often be seen sunbathing. When resting, they base themselves upon their haunches or fold their forelegs under their body like cats.

Same as tapirs, these rodents have a huge impact on the local ecosystem. They act as seed dispersers of certain plants they consume. Maras can also be very vocal, using screams and grunts.

This is just too much cuteness

If raised from a young age and hand-tamed, cavies can be friendly pets. Although similarly sized to some dogs, they are not as well-behaved or trainable as dogs. They also like (and need to) dig. If living inside, they will dig into carpet, flooring, couches, or anything else available. Yikes!

Prairie Dog

Prairie dog - cutest rodents
Prairie dog – cutest rodents

Look at this fella. Don’t you want to take him home with you? It’s been said that these cute critters support at least 136 other species through their various activities such as digging burrows that provide shelter to animals such as the golden-mantled ground squirrel, mountain plover, and the burrowing owl, or by being an important food source for predators like foxes, ferrets, hawks or eagles, and coyotes.

Nevertheless, prairie dogs are often identified as pests and exterminated from agricultural properties because they are capable of damaging crops, as they clear the immediate area around their burrows of most vegetation.

The “barking squirrels'” vocabulary is more advanced than any other animal language that’s been decoded because they can alert one another, for example, that there’s not just a human approaching their burrows, but a tall human wearing the color yellow.

There used to be hundreds of millions of prairie dogs in North America and their colonies extended for miles, but now their numbers are down by 95% mostly due to people claiming their habitats.

As pets, they are difficult to tend for as they are requiring regular attention and a very specific diet of grasses and hay. Each year, they go into a period called rut that can last for several months, in which their personalities can drastically change, often becoming defensive or even aggressive.

Prairie dogs are also very susceptible to bubonic plague, and many wild colonies have been wiped out by it.

Which rodent do you find to be the cutest in the world?

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Adrian Volenik

I've lived around animals my whole life and I hold a Diploma in Animal Physiology. When I'm not reading or writing about wild animals, health and fitness, and technology, you can find me playing with my son and two cats. My pastimes include running, playing video games, and solving the NY Times crossword.