Giant, tree-dwelling rat discovered in Solomon Islands

Main report: Giant, tree-dwelling rat discovered in Solomon Islands
Other Reporting: National Geographic, Wikipedia
Scientific Paper: Journal of Mammalogy   
New Taxa: Uromys vika
Common Name: the Vika
Species named for: local name for the animal
Categories: Mammals | New Species | Species Discovery

The Vangunu giant rat can weigh two pounds and reach lengths of 1.5 feet.  Mammalogist Tyrone Lavery first heard stories about ‘vika’, a giant, coconut-cracking, tree-dwelling rat from the Solomon Islands, in 2010.  But the elusive rodent may already be close to extinction.  After years of searching for the elusive animal, he has finally confirmed its existence, making it the first new rodent species to be described from the islands in more than 80 years.  The animal that Lavery studied was found leaving a tree that had been felled by a commercial logging company. It died from its injuries, but was photographed.

Uromys vika. Phot:o: Tyrone Lavery

Uromys vika. Phot: Tyrone Lavery

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