Cotton rat

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A cotton rat is any member of the rodent genus Sigmodon. Cotton rats have small ears and dark coats, and are found in North and South America. Members of this genus are distributed in the Southwestern USA, Mexico, Central America and South American countries of: Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Guyana and Suriname. Many of the species are found in Mexico.

Cotton rats
Temporal range: Early Pliocene - Recent
Sigmodon hispidus1.jpg
Hispid cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae
Subfamily: Sigmodontinae
Tribe: Sigmodontini
Wagner, 1843
Genus: Sigmodon
Say & Ord, 1825

Sigmodon alleni
Sigmodon alstoni
Sigmodon arizonae
Sigmodon fulviventer
Sigmodon hirsutus
Sigmodon hispidus
Sigmodon inopinatus
Sigmodon leucotis
Sigmodon mascotensis
Sigmodon ochrognathus
Sigmodon peruanus
Sigmodon planifrons
Sigmodon toltecus
Sigmodon zanjonensis

They are primarily herbivores. The molars of cotton rats are S-shaped when viewed from above. The genus name literally means S-tooth.

Sigmodon hispidus was the first model organism to be used in polio research.



  • Musser, G.G.; Carleton, M.D. (2005). "Superfamily Muroidea". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 894–1531. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.

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