(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.)