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Pacarana: Dinomyidae

Physical Characteristics

Also known as Branick's giant rat after the Polish count who first described the species in 1873, the pacarana is the sole member of the Dinomyidae ("terrible mouse") family. The name pacarana comes from a Tupi Indian term meaning "false pig." Full-grown pacaranas weigh between 22 and 33 pounds (10 to 15 kilograms), and from nose to rump measure from 28 to 31 inches (730 to 790 millimeters). Their tails are usually 7.5 inches (190 millimeters) long. Sturdy and compactly built, their heads are broad and large in proportion to their bodies. They have short but extremely powerful limbs with four digits and formidable claws on each. Pacaranas have a thick coat of coarse, grayish brown or blackish hair with rows of white spots on the back half of the body. The animal has bushy, white whiskers on either side of its blunt snout and a deeply split upper lip. It is the third-largest rodent on Earth, after the capybara and the beaver, and some people say it looks like a gigantic guinea pig or spineless porcupine.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsPacarana: Dinomyidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, PACARANAS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS