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Rodents are found in vast numbers on all continents except Antarctica, most islands, and in all habitats except oceans. They are the only nonvolant, non-marineplacentalorder—and in particular are the only placental order besides bats and pinnipeds—to have reached Australia without human introduction. Rodents are important in many ecosystems because they reproduce rapidly, and can function as food sources for predators, mechanisms for seed dispersal, and disease vectors. Humans use rodents as a source of fur, as pets, as model organisms in animal testing, for food, and even for detecting land mines.Due to the wide diversity of their characteristics, some of which are considered uncommon or unique amongst mammals, rodents are used widely in research.For example, the naked mole rat, Heterocephalus glaber, is the only known mammal that is poikilothermicand also does not produce the neurotransmitter substance P; it is therefore used in studies on thermoregulation and pain.
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