Dec 19, 2007

ROUS

If there is one thing our planet is woefully short on, it's giant rats. Thankfully, an expedition into pristine wilderness territory in Indonesia has yielded just that: a new species of Rodent Of Unusual Size.

This specimen weighs in a a cool three pounds. That makes it five times larger than your average city rat. What makes this tale (tail...) even more charming, is that the rodent was fearless of humans. It even wandered into camp a few times (you have so much to learn about us humans, lil' rat).

The man in the photo, a mammal expert named Martua Sinaga, has more spine than I. It would take a lot (a promise to pay off my mortgage, for instance) to cause me to pick up a heretofore unknown species of giant rat with my bare hands.

Thanks for the story, Hank, Jenny, and Rick.

Photo source: National Geographic

13 comments:

Arachnophile said...

I think that looks like one adorable rodent. I mean, he's like a combo between a normal rat and a sea otter.

I wish my rattie pets had been that large, I wouldn't have worried so much about them getting lost inside the furniture.

Sadly, they probably killed 'em to get that shot, although he'll be used as a specimen I guess. :(

Raging Wombat said...

Ugh. I didn't consider that it might be dead. I hope not. That strips the image of its charm.

Simone said...

I hope it has not been killed. And it´s actually kinda cute.
I also wonder what the furry gray thing in the right upper corner of the image is... It´s probably one of those fluffy things they put on the microphone of cameras, but somehow it looks weird next to the rat...hope that the precarious situation of fieldwork has not led some cameraman to desperate measures...lol.
Ok, ok, I am in a pretty mean mood today and I think I should stop.

jynxkat said...

you know- in Bali they have one word that means 'rat' and they call mice 'little rat'- so i guess this would be 'big rat'
i love rats- people look at me weird at the pet store when i tell my two year old i'll get him one soon- but they're a much better pet for small children- much better than, say, a rabbit- that can scratch as well as bite and is easily startled :P

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just sedated to collect specimen information. :)

Cozytailmom said...

He looks alive to me. Allbiologist pick up wild animals to show them off to the camera.
I love the ROUS!

Cozytailmom said...

Edited to all... I didn't mean to say "all" biologist.. I meant "some" and I'm not saying it's a safe, or smart or nonicky thing to do. :>

Kritter said...

Does anyone remember the Firesign Theater album, "The Giant Rat of Sumatra"?

Kyoki said...

It's not limp or lolling or anything, so I think it's probably just like ".... wtf? *blinkblink*" It doesn't look aggressive either, so maybe it's just human-friendly. Or maybe it's sedated so they can do tests and make sure it's healthy, that's a good thing, right? ^_^ A healthy ROUS can breed MORE ROUS's, and the world needs more Rodents of Unusual Size!

(And more handsome farmboys turned pirate, but that's a different site. ^^;)

Anonymous said...

Domesticate them for American households!!! XD

Anonymous said...

Actually, that is just an infant Giant Rat of Sumatra that has wandered over to Indonesia (or, is Sumatra part of Indonesia? I'm confused). Its cute and cuddly because all babies are cute and cuddly (except for pigeons). Next year at this time, it will be the size of a Yugo with red glowing eyes and long sharp fangs. No pictures exist of the adult phase because Giant Rats of Sumatra consider photographers and pesky scientists to be especially delicious. The world is not yet ready apparently.

Sherry at SofN

JMorgan said...

I dunno... three-pound rat? Not much bigger than the biggest guinea pig we have. And it's even almost as cute.

Laura said...

I found one of these in Thailand, but it never occurred to me that he was different than other rats. He was approximately 7 inches long (minus the tail) as far as I can remember, but since he was dead I wasn't exactly too scary.