Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat

By Hannah Lindstrom

Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat

Scientific Name: Hypogeomys antimena

The Malagasy (meaning from Madagascar) giant jumping rat is a rabbit-like mammal is only found in the Menabe region of Madagascar. They are the largest rodent found in Madagascar, weighing in at about 2.6 lbs. Their long, pointy ears and big hind feet help them stay away from predators and occupy a very similar niche to that of rabbits in other parts of the world.

Unlike other species of rodents, this Malagasy mammal is completely monogamous, meaning that it forms a lifelong bond with a partner, remaining with it for the extent of its lifetime. When these pairs decide to have babies, it will take the female approximately 102-138 days for the baby to be born. Mother giant jumping rats will only have about one or two babies per year.

When the young are born, they will be kept in their parents’ burrow for between 4 and 6 weeks. These burrows are very extensive; they can be 16 feet deep with up to 6 entrances. This is where the rats spend the majority of their time. Since they are nocturnal, they spend the entire day sleeping in them.

In order to sleep safely, the Malagasy giant jumping rat will cover the entrances to their burrows with dirt and leaves. This camouflage tricks predators like the Malagasy ground boa and fossa from stopping by for a quick meal.

This unique species is endangered, with an estimated population of only 11,000 individuals. Threats against these creatures include habitat loss, slow reproduction, and limited range.

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