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Cane Rats: Thryonomyidae

Physical Characteristics

The two species in the cane rat family, the greater cane rat and the lesser cane rat, are very similar in appearance, except for the fact that one is larger and heavier than the other. The second-largest rodents in their native continent of Africa after the South African porcupine, the cane rats range in length from 1.3 to 2.6 feet (40.9 to 79.3 centimeters) and in weight from 3.1 to 14.3 pounds (1.4 to 6.5 kilograms). Males are much larger and heavier than females. Cane rats are sturdy-looking animals, with solid, stocky bodies, short, brown, bristly, scaly tails, and small ears. Their speckled fur is sharp-ended and coarse, and can be any shade between grayish and yellowish brown. Cane rats have white lips, chins, and throats, with large, chisel-like incisor teeth that grow continuously. The upper teeth are grooved and bright orange. Their muzzles are squared and padded at the nose. These rodents have short, thick legs with heavily padded feet and straight, powerful claws with five digits in front and four in back. Their skin is very thin and tears easily, although it also heals quickly. Likewise, the tail will break off easily if the animal is caught by it. Sexually mature, those ready to mate, cane rats have orange-tinted fur in their genital areas. Cane rats do not seem to see well, but their senses of hearing and small are keen. Despite their heavy appearance, they are extremely fast and agile creatures.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsCane 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