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Rodents (from Latin rodere , "to gnaw") are mammals of the order Rodentia , which are characterized by a single pair of continuously growing incisors in each of the upper and lower jaws . About 40% of all mammal species are rodents; they are found in vast numbers on all continents except Antarctica . They are the most diversified mammalian order and live in a variety of terrestrial habitats , including human-made environments.
Worldwide, rats and mice spread over 35 diseases. These diseases can be spread to humans directly, through handling of rodents, through contact with rodent feces, urine, or saliva, or through rodent bites. Diseases carried by rodents can also be spread to humans indirectly, through ticks, mites or fleas that have fed on an infected rodent.
The etymology of the name woodchuck is unrelated to wood or chucking . It stems from an Algonquian (possibly Narragansett ) name for the animal, wuchak .  The similarity between the words has led to the popular tongue-twister :