giant pouched rat


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giant pouched rat,

terrestrial African rodentrodent,
member of the mammalian order Rodentia, characterized by front teeth adapted for gnawing and cheek teeth adapted for chewing. The Rodentia is by far the largest mammalian order; nearly half of all mammal species are rodents.
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 of the genus Cricetomys. Found in a wide variety of habitats, including farmland, in sub-Saharan Africa north of South Africa, giant pouched rats resemble a very large house rat, to which they is not closely related. They have large cheek pouches like those of the hamsters, which they use for transporting foraged food back to the burrow, and have gray to brown fur with lighter underparts and a long scaly tail. They are largely nocturnal and omnivorous, feeding on vegetation and insects and other small invertebrates, but they favor palm nuts. The largest, the Gambian, or African giant, pouched rat, may reach 3 ft (90 cm) in length, half of which is the tail, and weigh up to 6.5 lb (3 kg). Gambian pouched rats, which have a keen sense of smell, have been trained to work with human handlers to detect land mines and identify tuberculosis in sputum samples. Giant pouched rats are hunted for food in Africa, and have been kept as pets in Europe and North America. Giant pouched rats are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Rodentia, family Nesomyidae.
References in periodicals archive ?
Rats are smart with a keen sense of smell, and one species -- the African giant pouched rat -- is being tested to see if it can help detect illegal shipments of pangolins and hardwood timber in Tanzania.
The African Giant Pouched rat species is used because of its intelligence, calm demeanour and ability to be trained.
16 (ANI): The African Army Research Office has paid an Oklahoma State University's Zoology professor to study the African giant pouched rat to detect its ability to find bombs.
She said: "We have a Gambian giant pouched rat, Richardson's ground squirrels, sugar gliders, lemmings and African pygmy mice.
The Gambian giant pouched rat is deployed to remove more than 100 million landmines left behind from conflicts that kill or maim around 50 innocent people every day.
It seems the African giant pouched rat (Cricetomys gambianus)can reliably identify a specific smell in the saliva of patients with TB.
The monkeypox virus was apparently brought to this country by a Gambian giant pouched rat imported by a Chicago-area exotic pets dealer.
A company near Chicago that buys and sells exotic pets simultaneously held a sick Gambian giant pouched rat and some prairie dogs, Hull says.
Too light to set off an explosion, a giant pouched rat can sniff out buried mines, then scratch the ground to indicate their location.
African Giant Pouched Rats, trained by Belgian charity APOPO, are known for sniffing out landmines in countries from Angola to Cambodia and for detecting TB cases in East Africa.
APOPO trains African giant pouched rats, a large species that's friendly and hardworking.