Monday metazoan: world’s largest rat discovered

September 7, 2009 • 5:41 am

(Take that, PZ!) A new species of giant rat — 82 cm (32 inches!) long, with no apparent fear of humans — has been found living in a volcano in New Guinea.  It was discovered by a BBC team filming in the area.

Then trackers accompanying the team managed to trap a live specimen.

“I had a cat and it was about the same size as this rat,” says Buchanan.

The trapped rat measured 82cm in length from its nose to its tail, and weighed approximately 1.5kg.

It had a silver-brown coat of thick long fur, which the scientists who examined it believe may help it survive the wet and cold conditions that can occur within the high volcano crater. The location where the rat was discovered lies at an elevation of over 1,000m.

You can see a video of this gigantic murid here. It’s surprisingly cute.

Although touted as a new species, it looks very similar to another giant rat discovered in New Guinea in June, 2007 and discussed in a National Geographic post.  That rat looks like this:


Fig. 1.  The 2007 giant rat.  (Photo courtesy of National Geographic.)

h/t: otter

27 thoughts on “Monday metazoan: world’s largest rat discovered

  1. If I hadn’t seen that news before, I would have thought the header meant that since Dembski can’t find or speak truthfully about science, science had found (and spoken truthfully about) Dembski.

    @ Ray Moscow:

    The BBC clips seems to show their rat grooming and searching for food while held in the tail. Another article claimed that those rats weren’t scared by humans. I would guess it’s sedate by isolation.

  2. That is super awesome… but since they are already not fearful of humans, when are they going to be showing up in pet stores around my area?

  3. For anyone that lives in the UK, “Lost Land of the Volcano” starts tomorrow night (Tue) at 9pm on BBC1.

    There are more pictures of what was found on the Guardian website.

    It is believed that they found up to 40 new species.

  4. Honestly if you hadn’t told me that it was A Really Large Rat I’d have assumed (looking at the photo) that it was an Opossum! o_O

    Reminds me of Urban Legends about NYC’s Giant Wharf/Sewer Rats.

  5. Just 2 thoughts here:

    Did they find four giant adolescent turtles nearby as well? TMNT since 1984!

    Shit! Have to buy more lumber to build the new maze.

    OK, 3: Master Splinter, not the maze again! More lumber…

  6. That’s the first fluffy rather cuddly looking rat I’ve ever seen. It’s facial features looks a bit like a beaver’s as it doesn’t have the pointed nose that generally gives rats a harsh look.

  7. “Surprisingly” cute? Besides being the most largest family of mammals, murids are a very handsome group with many very adorable members. There is nothing surprising about this new species’ cuteness.

  8. it said they had know apparent fear of humans. i wasnt surprised to see him so calm. ooooooooooorrr… they could have him in a trance

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