End-stage renal disease from diabetic nephropathy, mainly due to type II diabetes, is an increasing problem in Western countries. The pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy is still incompletely understood and much of the experimental insight has been obtained from insulinopenic animal models, resembling type I diabetes. This review therefore aims to describe available rodent models of nephropathy associated with type II diabetes. The review focusses on the metabolic as well as renal functional and structural changes. The usefulness of these rodent models to study renal involvement in type II diabetes is discussed with particular emphasis on confounding factors such as hyperlipidemia, hypertension, immunologic abnormalities, urogenital structural abnormalities and other associated pathological conditions. In addition recent observations on two rat strains, the obese Zucker (fatty) and Goto Kakizaki (GK) rat, are discussed in detail.