About the size of a rabbit, this rat is the largest rodent in Madagascar.
They have relatively short tails for their size, and despite their name, rarely jump. However when they do jump, they can reach heights of up to 3 feet, and only do so to avoid predators like boas and fossa. Their hind feet are large and adapted for jumping.
They live in burrows that can be up to 17 feet long. During the day they build and sleep in these burrows. At night they forage on fruits, seeds, vegetation and occasionally insects and bugs.
Due to habitat destruction and predation from introduced species, they are critically endangered. Some believe that it may become extinct in less than 30 years.
With its mostly black body and contrasting, pinkish tail, this eastern gray squirrel almost seems to be making a fashion statement. This photo was taken in southern Ontario, where there are plenty of eastern gray squirrels, and in a great variety—common gray, speckled, blond, and more.
The giant beaver was a prehistoric species of beaver. It looked similar to modern beavers but, as the name implies, was considerably larger: it grew over 8 ft (2.4 m) in length — making it the largest rodent in North America during the last ice age and the largest known beaver. It weighed roughly 60 to 100 kg (130 to 220 lb), the size of a modern black bear…
The largest of the Chinchillidae Family, this viscacha lives on the open lands of Argentina, Paraguay and Pampas. They are the largest of their chinchilla cousins. Females can grow up to about 10 lbs and males can be twice as heavy.
They are social animals, living in complex underground labyrinths that can house many generations of viscacha. Groups usually consist of mostly females, young and one or two males, a similar social structure to lion prides.
Like most rodents, they are nocturnal grazers and spend the day resting or extending their burrows. They used to be so common that they had to be eradicated in some locations, and hunted for their meat. Recently, although many populations have disappeared, their adaptability and birth rate are high enough that they are not of high concern to conservationists.
There are two species of porcupine within the genus, Atherurus. The African brush tailed and the Asiatic brush tailed. Brush tailed porcupines are nocturnal and typically live in the higher, forested areas of their respective regions. They live and sleep underground or in rocky caves.
Unlike other types of porcupine, these are smaller and more rat-like. Their size and quills which are shorter and lighter, allow for quicker movement. At the end of their ~8 inch tails, there is a brush like group of small, thin quills. They use this as a rattle and stomp their feet to intimidate predators. If the attacker remains, the porcupine will raise their quills to enhance size, and back up quills first into the predator.
Asiatic porcupines will live with about 3 members per burrow, and African porcupine families can be about 8. All members of the group help raise the porcupettes.
Although the term “giant mole rat” may not immediately inspire love, the mole rats of Africa are a fascinating bunch. They spend practically their entire lives underground building elaborate tunnel systems and feeding on plant stems. This underground lifestyle has led them to evolve small ears, tiny eyes, forward-pointing teeth for digging, and nostrils they can shut at will while digging.
Some species are quite social, such as the most famous, the naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber), while others live largely solitary lives. If that’s not enough, the family of mole rats, dubbed Blesmols…
In 2002, Paul Van Daele, an expert on Blesmols with the University of Ghent, and his team noticed a distinct-looking mole rat in Zambia, although similar to giant mole rat (Fukomys mechowii) it was noticeably smaller. It took several years to confirm their hypothesis that they had uncovered a new species, but a recent study by Van Daele and his team in Zootaxa describes the world’s newest mole rat: Caroline’s mole rat (Fukomys vandewoestijneae), distinguished by a distinct skull shape and confirmed by DNA and chromosome tests…
(read more: MongaBay) (photo: Daele, P.A.A.G. van et al.)
Maras mate for life and usually have one to three babies every year. Newborns are so well developed they can begin to graze within a day.
Maras (Dolichotis patagonum) are the fourth largest rodent in the world, after capybaras, beavers, and porcupines, reaching about 18 inches (45 cm ) tall. In the wild, Maras live in dry, grassy areas in South America. With their long, thin legs and tall ears they seem much like a hare, but the Maras are actually a subfamily of the guinea pig. They can make jumps of 2 meters.
New Species of Tree-Dwelling Porcupine Discovered in Critically Endangered Brazilian Forest
by MongaBay staff
Scientists in Brazil have described a new species of tree-dwelling porcupine in the country’s most endangered ecosystems. The description is published in last week’s issue of Zootaxa.
A team of researchers led by Antonio Rossano Mendes Pontes [2009 interview], a biologist at the Federal University of Pernambuco, found the porcupine in a small forest fragment in the state of Pernambuco. They christened the rodent Coendou speratus, a combination of its local name “coandu-mirim” and the Latin word “speratus” for “hope”.
The name choice is appropriate given the porcupine’s high risk of extinction. About 98 percent of its forest habitat has been destroyed, while its population is as fragmented as the forests it inhabits, making the species vulnerable in inbreeding, according to the researchers. The species is also actively hunted by locals…
Mess with beavers, pay the price (beaver goes apeshit)
by Sarah Miller
So this is only a 30 second video (from Russia). But it doesn’t need to be longer because what happens in it is so nuts, which is that someone is filming a beaver, all like, oh, wow, look at this beaver, cool. Nice beaver. And then the beaver HOUSES the dude. I mean, you can’t even see anything. The beaver just charges and then there are all these horrible beaver attack noises. I am reminded of the scene in Grizzly Man when Werner Herzog says to that woman, “You must never listen to this tape.”
Beavers are apparently scary as shit — one just bit a guy to death in Belarus. And I have to say that even though watching this I had the benefit of hindsight, the beaver has a very ominous looking tail. It should have been enough warning.