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Gambian Giant Pouched Rat

If you see a creature about as big as a cat with a naked tail as long as its body evokes Splinter of Ninja Turtle fame, donít be alarmed. The African giant pouched rat (Cricetomys gambianus) is huge but friendly. Weighing two to six pounds and ranging from ten to seventeen inches long, these guys arenít official rats, but large rodents whose name derives from their looks and their cheek pouches, used for carrying food.

The giant pouched rats are harmless to humans, if not a bit startling at first sight. They feed on various plants, small insects, and other invertebrates. They have been witnessed also eating scraps left for the Friendship Hotel cats...right along side of their feline friends. (If you canít eat them, join them).

The rats are to be found roaming throughout the African continent and reach sexual maturity within 5 to 7 months and can have up to 4 litters every 9 months with 6 offspring per litter. They weigh approximately 1 kg.

Their natural home is thick forest and sometimes termite mounds however, with increasing urbanisation they have found richer pickings around human refuse tips and family compounds. The Gambian Pouched Rat is omnivorous with its natural preferred food being palm fruits & kernels as well as a diet of insects, vegetation and snails.

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