Monday, September 17, 2012

Animal Tips for Writers: What Is A Rodent?


After an unplanned short break from writing animal tips, I hope to write them more frequently. Today we'll look at rodents, which seem to come up often in certain types of stories, books, and movies.

When writing about creepy little animals, some authors might wonder if they can describe such animals as rodents. But can all creepy little animals be described as rodents? The answer is: No. Most “creepy” little animals are not rodents, and not all rodents are little. Some rodents are even widely thought of as cute.


Rodents are mammals of the order Rodentia. Rats, mice, squirrels, hamsters, guinea pigs, and even bigger animals like beavers and the 200 pound capybara are rodents. Snakes, toads, cockroaches, flies, and other such frequently reviled animals that some authors might want to lump together with rats are not rodents, because they are not mammals nor members of the order Rodentia.

Have you ever written about rodents, or do you plan to? Have you ever had a memorable encounter with a rodent?


(c) 2012 Jonathan Garner

12 comments:

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    1. Indeed. ;) Thank you for commenting, Grace!

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  2. I think the only thing that beats my Mom's distaste for snakes would be rodents (cockroaches win, though).

    I wanted a pet mouse when I was younger... I was fairly willing to go live with my Aunt so I could have them. o.O I still plead insanity...

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    1. Cockroaches seem to inspire a particularly deep kind of revulsion, which is one reason I wrote an article about them recently. ;)

      A mouse might make a good pet, though not worth such extreme measures to get one. :D

      Thank you for commenting, Elizabeth!

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  3. I enjoyed this post--though I don't enjoy rodents. ;)
    My sister had two pet gerbils for several years. I don't think I ever touched those gerbils though...sure, they were kinda cute, but they also very much like mice. ;)

    One night, back when I shared a bedroom with three of my sister & we didn't have enough beds in the room for everyone, one of my sisters had been sleeping on the floor for a couple of nights, so I offered to sleep on the floor and let her have my bed. All the sisters fell asleep, but, not being used to sleeping on the floor, I kept waking up. About 2 in the morning, I woke up hearing what sounded exactly like mice. My mind immediately flashed to the mice holes which we'd found in the closet when we moved into this house. Aaaaand, those mice holes were about three feet from my head.

    I'm *cough* sure it was the fact that I was tired and not really in my normal state of mind, that I went, woke my sister up and asked her if she wanted to sleep on the floor again. Sleepily, she agreed and went to sleep on the floor while I took my bed.

    In the morning, she wanted to know how in the world she was on the floor and I got the joy of explaining the story and answering all her questions. Turns out, I was hearing her pets which were in their cage right outside the bedroom door. It made me feel better knowing I hadn't actually made her sleep with mice around. But I still kinda feel like :blush: when I recall how I made her sleep on the floor that night. ;)

    Anyways, that turned out long.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, Nicole. :) Thank you for commenting!

      That sounds like a memorable night. Does she ever remind you of it? ;)

      I like long comments. :)

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    2. Does she ever? Family stories hard hard around my house. I've heard about this one plenty of times. ;)

      Oh, good; glad you don't mind them. When time permits, I like leaving long comments. We should get along well. Oh wait! I think we already do. Never mind. ;)


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    3. I wondered about that. ;)

      I hope time permits often, then. And yes, we already do. ;)

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  4. I was gonna say--I object to the notion that all rodents are creepy. ;) But then again, I object to the notion that most reptiles are creepy, too...

    I'm glad you're writing these articles again! I'm not sure if rodents have ever played a significant role in my stories. Nothing's coming to mind...

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  5. I've written about a rodent before, but in my trilogy, I call them Marsh wallups, instead.

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    1. Thank you for commenting, Kaitlyn! I remember those.

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