African Giant Pouched Rat

The African Pouched Rat (Cricetomys gambianus) is a muroid rodent. It is also known as the Gambian Pouched Rat. It is not a true rat. It has pouched cheeks like a Hamster. 

The African Pouched Rat has a long grey-reddish furred body, light-coloured tail, pink ears, and a pink-grey nose. It has long incisor teeth. 

It has an excellent sense of smell. African Pouched Rats can detect land mines and tuberculosis.

It grows up to 90 centimetres (36 inches) long, including its tail. 

African Pouched Rat

The African Pouched Rat is widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal to Kenya. It prefers forests and thickets, near termite mounds. 

It is nocturnal, active at night. It has poor eyesight and depends on its sense of smell and hearing. 

It is omnivorous, feeding on vegetables, insects, crabs, snails, and termites. It stores its food in its cheek pouches. 

The African Pouched Rat lives in a colony of up to 20 individuals. It lives in a burrow underground. 

The female has about six live young. 

African Pouched Rat in a demonstration to show how it detects a land mine
African Pouched Rat
African Pouched Rat

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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