The family of African and Malagasy endemic rats and mice contains around 61 species and 21 genera

Member species of this family occupy a wide range of habitats, including forests, shrublands, grasslands, savanna, agricultural fields, and wetlands. They are extremely diverse in looks, with some species being rat-like, others being vole-like, and some being gerbil-like in overall appearance.

Some species are exclusively arboreal, while others are exclusively terrestrial. Many are adept climbers, and even those that are terrestrial may forage in small trees. Some are nocturnal; some are diurnal. They either dig burrows or use burrows made by other animals or tree cavities in which they often build nests and store food. Their diets vary from quite strict herbivory to nearly herbal insectivory.