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Cane Rats: Thryonomyidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Cane Rats And People, Greater Cane Rat (thryonomys Swinderianus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RA\NGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS

lesser africa soft south

GREATER CANE RAT (Thryonomys swinderianus): SPECIES ACCOUNT

Both species are native to Africa, where they occupy habitats south of the Sahara Desert. They may be found everywhere in west, central, and southern Africa all the way down to the eastern Cape in South Africa.


Although they look similar, the greater and lesser cane rats prefer different environments. The greater species is semi-aquatic and searches out marshes and reed beds near rivers and streams, while the lesser species looks for dry ground in moist savannas, or grasslands. Both animals are excellent swimmers and require tall grasses for hiding and foraging purposes.


Cane rats are herbivores, plant eaters, and eat a wide variety of grasses and other plant matter, as well as fruits, nuts, bark, and cultivated crops. Cane rats ferment their food in a special organ called the cecum (SEE-kum) to help digest it. They produce two kinds of feces: hard and soft pellets. Both are excreted, but the animals eat the soft pellets to extract any nutrients remaining in them.

Abundant in all areas with suitable habitat, neither the lesser nor the greater cane rat is threatened.

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