Rodent Species. Part 2

Rodents have a large post digestive caecum, which contains intense bacterial flora. Being post digestive means that the valuable nutrients of food would be lost given that the absorption must take place in the small intestine. Most rodents have a way of dealing with this; they practise a specific form of coprophagy.

Once the food has become softer in the stomach it passes through the small intestine and into caecum. Once in the caecum the large cellulose molecules are broken down by bacterial function and turned into an uncomplicated organic mix, like sugars and starches and since the food bolus has by now passed the absorption point, it must be used again. The rodent takes his own poop straight from the anus and eats it and on the second visit through the stomach and small intestine, additional substances are absorbed and the poop that eventually emerges is hard and dry and discarded.

Many rodents are extremely prolific when it comes to reproduction. The rate of their productive capabilities provides them with the ability to adapt to changes in their life style, such as habitat changes and the lack of food sources put upon them through no fault of their own. The sizes of litters can fluctuate from 1 to 20, depending on which rodent species. A very large litter will give at least a few of the off spring a better chance of survival.

It is normal for most rodents to be quite sociable, existing in large groups with complex interactive activities. Those of them who live a solitary existence are restricted to the arid grasslands and deserts. With them having very sharp senses, rodents converse by sound, smell and sight. They make substantial use of vocalisations, some of which are greater than the human hearing range. They also make use of scent marking which is usually done by urinating and is very common.

Many species of rodents are seen as vermin that feed on cultivated crops and are eradicated in vast numbers. A few species are still deliberately bred for human consumption in certain countries and others are used for their fur and the chinchilla is a prime candidate and even the hamster is bred for its fur. Many rodents are used for testing products and medicines in laboratories across the world.