African Giant Pouched Rat [Cricetomys sp. Ansorgei]
The African Giant Pouched Rat is generally considered to be the Gambian Pouched Rat [Cricetomys gambianu which has been separated as a species from the Southern Giant Pouched Rat.
The Giant African Rat has a long tail, which is bare with a white tip. The body is covered with buff-grey, relatively long fur whereas the under parts are slightly paler. Front hands are white. Face is characterised by long dark whiskers.
An adult measures 750 mm from the nose to the tip of the tail, and the tail is about 410 mm long. An average male weighs about 1.3 kg and the female 1.2 kg. Small eyes are surrounded by a black eye-patch.
There are a number of species in the African Giant Pouched Rat genus, of which only Cricetomys ansorgei marginally occurs In South Africa. Its occurrence is restricted to the northern parts of the Northern Province of South Africa. See Habitat map.
The Giant Pouched Rats are trained to sniff out land mines in a number of countries in Africa. Easier to train than dogs, the rats are also less expensive to keep. The Rats can become an infestation in areas where rubbish is strewn and left and there are reported incidents of these Giant Pouched Rats eating human babies and sleeping adults.