Gambian Pouch Rat

Gambian Pouch Rat: (Cricetomys gambian)

Gambian pouch rats (cricetomys gambian), is a member of the nesomyidae family, being among the largest muroids in the world. They are very large rodents that average approximately 20 to 35 inches long, including its tail, reaching lengths of 14 to 18 inches alone. Gambian rats usually weigh about 3 pounds.

Gambian pouch rats have soft fur, their fur colors vary from dark to light brown, grayish black or black. Its under - parts are whitish gray or light gray. The have black round eyes, its ears are long covered with fine fur on the back side and fur - less on the inside.  Their tails are bare. They have 4 toes and a thumb on their front paws and 5 on their back paws.

Gambian pouch rats are not a native species to Florida. Their native home land is Africa. These rats began forming populations about 5 years ago, when some escaped from captivity on Grassy Key Florida, north of Marathon Florida. They are now established and continues growing its population. As of today, gambian rats have only occupied Grassy Key, Florida, which are found around houses, mainly outside where pet food is.  

Gambian pouch rats are omnivores, consuming a variety of insects, crabs, snails, vegetables and other vertebrates and invertebrates. They prefer palm fruits and palm kernels.

Gambian pouch rats are really active at night. They can climb extremely well, although they spend the majority of their time on the ground. They also live in colonies that have up to 20 individuals, this usually occurs only in the wild. These colonies are found in forests and thickets and in termite mounds, although males tend to be aggressive when they encounter another male. Gambian pouch rats have cheek pouches that allows them to gather food which they store underground in their burrow. These rats burrows that consist of long passages with several side tunnels and chambers, using one for sleeping, resting and storing food. 

Gambian pouch rats can breed as young as 5 to 7 months old, The female can produce 4 litters every 9 months having up to 6 young each litter, they average 4 young.

Gambian pouch rats are known to carry diseases, one of which is monkey pox, which can be transmitted to humans, pets and livestock. They also carry several parasites

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