However, relative to the numbers of Gambian giant pouched rats captured, large numbers of non-target animals were captured, primarily raccoons (Procyon lotor ), but also Virginia opossums Mammalia 39:344–364. Gambian rats are 1 of 2 species in the genus Cricetomys currently recognized by most researchers. Drake, J. M. 2005. For full article, see, For article on Florida Keys, see, Also see, Photo from 2007). Ive had males the majority of my time owning rats. Gambian pouched rats have become an invasive species on Grassy Key in the Florida Keys, after a private breeder allowed the animals to escape. Gambian pouched rats have become an invasive species on Grassy Key in the Florida Keys, after a private breeder allowed the animals to escape. Shortly thereafter, the CDC and FDA issued a ban on distribution and sale of imported rats. KeysNet reports the invasive African native species first began showing up between 1999-2001 after a local exotic animal breeder released eight of the rats … Status and habitat of the Key Largo woodrat and cotton mouse (Neotoma floridana smalli and Peromyscus gossypinus allapticola). Change ). Its size is one of the characteristics that has made it a popular pet, three times heavier than the standard fancy rats – which are actually domesticated brown rats. 2006. In 2007, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission began extensive efforts to remove this invasive species from the Keys. Observations on the biology, domestication, and reproductive performance of the African giant rat Cricetomys gambianus (Waterhouse) in Nigeria. The gambian rat can weigh as much as 9 lbs, which is comparable to a small domestic cat. Around 20 individuals were affected. Another problematic invasive species present in Florida is the Gambian pouched rat, which was likely originally released by a resident who had been breeding them on the island of Grassy Key in the Florida Keys. Source: This outsized African rodent is also believed to be responsible for the 2003 outbreak of monkeypox in the United States, after spreading it to prairie dogs which were purchased as pets. Journal of Mammalogy 87:262-264. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! These 2 species, C. emini and C. gambianus, are among the largest members of the rodent family Muridae and are phenotypically similar. Like all invasive species, these rats have the potential to alter the ecosystem of Grassy Key as they don't have natural predators to limit their population. These rats are larger than native Florida rat species, including the Key Largo wood rat, cotton rat and silver rice rat, as well as the nonnative common black rat. It isn't entirely impossible for the rats to cross automobile bridges to the Florida mainland, so local experts are working to eradicate the isolated population before it spreads. However, in Africa, these animals are known as hero rats and they are specially-trained to detect landmines and tuberculosis. This species also lives in Africa and is kept as a pet. The gambian rat differs from other rodents because of its ability to store grains and food in cheek pouches. But a breed of giant Gambian rats have been rapidly reproducing in the Florida Keys despite a decade-long effort to wipe them out. Native to Africa, the Gambian pouched rat is one of the largest rodents in the world weighing an average of three pounds and measuring 20-35 inches from head to tail. However, the pouched rats are winning admirers back home in Africa. I have had pet store rats, craigslist rats and rescue rats. Common Name Scientific Name First Observed Introduction Status; Gambian Pouched Rat. Gambian pouched rats are very large, long-lived rodents that hail from Africa. Genus Saccostomus (short-tailed pouched rats) 2 species. Gambian pouched rats reproduce easily and can have up to five litters in the span of nine months, with an average of four young per litter.
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