Greater Cane Rat

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Mammals

iGreater Cane Rat
Conservation status

Least Concern (LC)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Suborder: Hystricomorpha
Family: Thryonomyidae
Genus: Thryonomys
Species: T. swinderianus
Binomial name
Thryonomys swinderianus
(Temminck, 1827)

The Greater Cane Rat (Thryonomys swinderianus) is a close relative of porcupines and guinea pigs that inhabits Africa, south of the Saharan Desert. The cane rat lives by reedbeds and riverbanks. As humans move into such territories, the cane rats accepted plantations and cultivated areas. Cane rats can grow about two feet long in the longest individuals and weighs a little less than 19 pounds. It has rounded ears, short nose, and coarse bristly hair. Its forefeet are smaller than its hindfeet and supports its weight on only three toes. Cane rats live in small groups led by a single male. They are nocturnal and make nests from grasses or burrow underground. The oldest cane rat can live more than four years. If frightened, they grunt and run towards water. They eat grasses and cane and since they have tastes for cultivated foods, they make serious agricultural pests. So far, their conservation status is lower risk.

In the country of Ghana and other regions of West Africa, the Greater Cane Rat, usually called a "grasscutter" or "cutting grass", is considered a delicacy. As a consequence, "grasscutters" are beginning to be raised in cages for sale.

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