That's a crested rat, or maned rat, or Lophiomys imhausi to be precise. The species is in the news lately because of some research showing that, in the words of one eminent science blogger, this animal "slobbers poison on its fur, dares predators to bite it."
Yeah, this seems like the kind of behavior that belongs on my other blog. But my first thought was "Whoa, that is a terrible photo! What is wrong with that animal's fur?" Surely the poor thing was unfairly caught on a bad hair day, right?
Well, it turns out that pictures of this animal are rather uncommon on the internet, and I now suspect that that's because it's so ugly that either it hides from photographers or no one wants to take a picture of it. I did find this photo of a taxidermied specimen:
I always think that a taxidermied specimen in good condition like that one is, I'm afraid, pretty damning evidence. If the Smithsonian Institution labored over that animal with all its experience and skill and that's what it came up with, I am sorry, crested rat, but you are one unattractive rodent.
Photos from wikipedia and Flickr user isolethetv.