Two water voles threaten each other

New World rats and mice

New World rats and mice are a very diverse family of rodents that includes voles, hamsters and lemmings. Widely distributed throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, they live almost anywhere - from high up in the mountains to dry desert. Some species never leave the tree tops, while others are mostly aquatic. This is one of the largest families of mammals, containing nearly 700 species. Sadly, around one fifth of these species are currently considered threatened or endangered.

Scientific name: Cricetidae

Rank: Family


Map showing the distribution of the New World rats and mice taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

Explore this group


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Mammals
  5. Rodents
  6. New World rats and mice

BBC News about New World rats and mice

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.