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The Hystricomorpha, such as the guinea pig, have larger superficial masseter muscles and smaller deep masseter muscles than rats or squirrels, possibly making them less efficient at biting with the incisors, but their enlarged internal pterygoid muscles may allow them to move the jaw further sideways when chewing.
The cheek pouch is a specific morphological feature used for storing food and is evident in particular subgroups of rodents like kangaroo rats, hamsters, chipmunks and gophers which have two bags that may range from the mouth to the front of the shoulders.
This allows rodents to suck in their cheeks or lips to shield their mouth and throat from wood shavings and other inedible material, discarding this waste from the sides of their mouths.
Rodent groups differ in the arrangement of the jaw muscles and associated skull structures, both from other mammals and amongst themselves.
Some species, in particular the brown rat, the black rat, and the house mouse, are serious pests, eating and spoiling food stored by humans, and spreading diseases.
Well-known rodents include mice, rats, squirrels, prairie dogs, porcupines, beavers, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils and capybaras.
Other animals such as rabbits, hares, and pikas, whose incisors also grow continually, were once included with them, but are now considered to be in a separate order, the Lagomorpha.
Nonetheless, Rodentia and Lagomorpha are sister groups, sharing a most recent common ancestor and forming the clade of Glires.
Most species have up to 22 teeth with no canines or anterior premolars.
A gap, or diastema, occurs between the incisors and the cheek teeth in most species.
About 40% of all mammal species are rodents; they are found in vast numbers on all continents except Antarctica.