Springhares: The kangaroo hop-alike

July 19, 2017 mammal 0

The springhare are two remaining species of the family Pedetidae(meaning long foot). This family probably evolved in the Pliocene, around five million years ago. They are most closely related to the Laotian Rock Rats and are not hares but rodents. The two species exist almost entirely in the scrubs and […]

Beavers: Dam builders extraordinaire

July 18, 2017 mammal 0

The beavers or castor canadensis ( North American) and castor fiber (Eurasian) are the two species left of the family castoridae (from the anal secretion called castoreus). They probably evolved in the Miocene epoch(23 million years ago). Their nearest relatives are Dassie Rats and not muskrats as previously thought. The word beaver […]

Paca

Pacas: nothing is a hard nut to crack

July 14, 2017 mammal 0

A paca is a member of the genus Cuniculus ( it means of the water) of ground-dwelling, herbivorous rodents in South and Central America. It is the only genus in the family Cuniculidae and has two species, the lowland Paca ( very imaginatively, this means “animal”) and the mountain Paca. […]

pacarana

Pacarana: the terrible mouse that isn’t

June 6, 2017 mammal 0

The Pacarana, means “False Paca” among the Tupi people of the Amazon. The animal is the third largest rodent ( only capybaras and beavers are larger) and said to resemble a very large guinea pig. The scientific name, Dinomys branickii, means “terrible mouse” but this is someone’s pipe dream because this […]

Dassie Rat

The Dassie Rat – a rodent that chews the cud

April 17, 2017 mammal 1

The Dassie Rat (Petromus typicus) is the only surviving member of it’s family. Dassie is the Afrikaans term for hyrax and as they live among the same rocks, the name stuck to this rodent too. They are related to cane rats and are unique among rodents in that they regurgitate their food and […]

Mountain Beaver

Mountain Beaver – A volcano eater!

April 15, 2017 mammal 0

The mountain beaver (Aplodontia rufa) is a North American rodent. It is not related to beavers but is so named because it does chew bark and leaves from trees and ferns like beavers do. I suspect it also has to do with the pelt. When furs were “the thing”, there […]

Laotian Rock Rat

Laotian rock rat – The coelacanth of rodents

April 12, 2017 mammal 1

The Laotian Rock rat is also called the Lazarus rat because the family they belong to: Diatomyidae is only known to us from 30 million year old fossils dug up in the Indian subcontinent. The name of the genus Laonastes, means “inhabitant of stone” (from Greek). This is because they live in rocky […]

Togo Mouse

The elusive Togo Mouse

March 18, 2017 mammal 0

In 1890,during the colonization of the Togo, there was found a new species of mouse. It was named the Leimacomyis buettneri or more often called the Togo Mouse. The species was rare even then as only two individuals were part of the sample. However, these were put into a new […]