Dental Anatomy of Rabbits and Rodents

Key Points

  • Prolonged chewing of tough abrasive diets causes rapid tooth wear in rabbits and herbivorous rodents (chinchillas, degus and guinea pigs). To compensate for this, these species have permanent teeth that grow and erupt continuously, never producing anatomical roots.
  • Omnivorous rodents such as the Old World rat, mouse, and gerbil have small, short crowned molars with anatomical roots. Only the large, chisel-shaped incisors used for gnawing grow continuously in these rodents.
  • Rabbits and rodents lack canine teeth, a long diastema or gap occurring between the incisors and the premolars.
  • The premolars and molars are commonly referred to as “cheek teeth” since they function as a single unit and tend to have similar structures.

More hay please...Prolonged chewing of tough, abrasive foods such as hay causes rapid tooth wear in rabbits and herbivorous rodents. To compensate for this, these species have permanent teeth that grow and erupt continuously, never producing anatomical roots. Learn more in Dental Anatomy of Rabbits and Rodents by Dr. David Crossley . . .


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