Brown rat standing on a log

Old World rats and mice

The Old World rat and mice family has more species in it than any other mammal family. It includes all the British species of mice and rats, plus gerbils, spiny mice and Australian native mice.

Scientific name: Muridae

Rank: Family


Map showing the distribution of the Old 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.

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When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.


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

BBC News about Old World rats and mice