Giant rats of the Solomon Islands

In the Solomon Islands, legends about huge
rodents, easily gnawing coconuts and masterly
climbing trees. Biologists have not known for a long time whether
such animals are in reality or are pure fiction
locals who have legends about them.

Since 2010 a group of american scientists led by a zoologist
Tyrone Lavery, engaged in video and photo hunting on the mysterious
animals. The researchers dreamed of catching an unknown rodent,
however, they did not succeed in this, which is why they came to the conclusion
that giant rats are fabulous folklore of the aborigines.

However, in 2017. the inhabitants of the island of Vangunu saw while cutting down
forests of an unusual animal of the orange-brown suit: he popped
from under the tree that the woodcutters had just dumped. Men knew
about the fact that this animal has long been sought after by scientists, and they managed to catch valuable
an instance. Learning about this Lavery ordered to organize
delivery of the rat to the laboratory. Unfortunately, from injuries that
the animal probably got when the tree fell, it passed away and
was buried by the locals. Only ten days later
experts were able to see the remains of the legendary rodent.

At this point, a little bit left of the rat: skull, bones, part
tail, partially wool … However, scientists and this turned out to be
enough to understand: this instance was completely
new type. The animal was named Uromys vika. Its weight was about
1 kilogram, body length (with tail) reached 46 centimeters.
Recall that an ordinary rat weighs 75 – 350 grams.

Rarest rats on the verge of extinction

At present, not much is known about giant rats. By
apparently, they are woodcutters and build nests in crowns
trees. Eat coconut and fruit. These rodents
distinguished by impressive sharp incisors and long scaly
tails. Their hind legs are wide and have large pads with
curved claws – to climb trees.

After analyzing the DNA and examining the anatomical features (in
particular shape of the skull) of the animal, the researchers confirmed that
it’s about a completely new look. Locals call these
rodents with the word “vika”, so zoologists hesitated for a short time when
choice of species name.

Uromys vika are a very rare type of rat. Scientists
do not know yet whether these animals live on other islands
archipelago. If not, the population is at risk of destruction.
due to massive deforestation on Wangunu (here already about
90 percent of the forest). Lavery says: if
giant rats are not found now, they would simply die out and
zoologists have never learned about them, that is, unique animals and
would remain heroes of legends, and nothing more …

Now scientists are seeking to have Uromys vika introduced into
перечень охраняемых animals. And the Tyrone Lavery team is going to
a new expedition to the islands, wanting to find amazing rodents and
to study the already living specimens.

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