Greater Cane Rat [Thryonomys swinderianus]
The Greater Cane Rat is closely related to the Porcupine unlike most other rat species that are related to each other. Giant Cane Rats have very spiny fur on its back and they have a rounded face unlike rats that have a more distinctive pointed or square face. Some of the larger Cane Rats can reach up to 720mm in length.
Unlike most rats that live on meat and very rarely grass or fruit. Giant Cane Rats forage and gnaw on grass with their large incisors which creates a tooth-chattering sound. Like all rodents, their incisors continuously grow ant they must be constantly gnawing on objects to file them down. Though Giant Cane Rats prefer a greener variety, they can also survive on dry highveld grass thanks to special microbes that help with digestion in the hind gut. Meat from the Giant Cane Rat is regarded as a delicacy in and is considered superior to rabbit meat. Because of tis, The Giant Cane Rat is hunted for food.
Giant Cane Rats have a gestation of 153 days and gives birth to two litters per year. Each litter contains 4 well developed pups.
Giant Cane Rats live along riverbanks and marshes where the harder and coarser cane grass grow. These Rats can become a major problem for farms that grow cane like crops like sugar cane. These animals can therefore be spotted during a Kruger Park Safari as well as in the camps and surrounds.
Found mostly in Kwazulu-Natal and in other parts of South Africa, including the highveld of Gauteng and the Northern Province as well as Mpumalanga. A smaller species of the Cane Rat, the Lesser Cane Rat, can be found in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Not a very common Sight in the Kruger Park while on a Kruger Park Private Safari as the environment isn’t suited well for them.