Nonnatives - Gambian Pouch Rat

Gambian Pouch Rat - Cricetomys gambianus

Florida's Nonnative Wildlife. Species detail.

The Gambian pouch rat ranges from Senegal to central Sudan and down to South Africa, where they live in natural crevices and holes, termite mounds, or hollow trees in forests, thickets, and around human habitations. It is typically nocturnal, has a keen sense of smell, and feeds on insects, snails, nuts, seeds, and fruit. The body color is gray to brown and the belly is paler. The feet are almost white and most of the tail is dark gray, but the final third is off white. The large ears and tail are covered with fine hairs. They are the world's largest rat, reaching up to 9 lb, and were imported as pets until importation was banned in 2003 due to the Monkey Pox outbreak. They can have 5 litters in 9 months with an average of 4 young per litter. Six or 7 animals were released on Grassy Key by a breeder in 2000-2002 and have multiplied and spread. Several have been trapped on Grassy Key, and an attempt will be made to eradicate the population. There is 1 unsubstantiated report from Key Largo and an apparently credible sighting on Marathon (R. Grau, FFWCC, personal communication).

County First Year Extirpated Year Breeding status Notes
MONROE 2000-2002 Less than 10 years Grassy Key (R. Grau, FFWCC, personal communication)


Additional Information

Gambian Rat Reporting


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