Greater Bandicoot Rat (Bandicota indica)


Size: large-sized rat.
Fur: dorsum brown-black, ventrum dark grey, not sharply demarcated; guard hair developed on the back.
Tail: shorter than head and body (about 10% shorter); uniformly dark with a white ring at its basis.
Ears: short and thick,
Feet: black with long claws,
Teeth: yellow-orange broad incisors,
Hind foot: long, over 40 mm for adults, dark hairs above, stronger than that of Bandicota savilei,
Mammae: 1 + 2 + 3

 It can grow to about 13 inches without including the tail which can grow to be just as long. The greater bandicoot rat (Bandicota indica) is the largest, weighing 0.5 to 1 kg (1.1 to 2.2 pounds). The shaggy, blackish brown body is 19 to 33 cm (7.5 to 13 inches) long, not including a scantily haired tail of about the same length.

Range Description:

This species is found throughout most of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the lowlands of Nepal through Myanmar, southern China (recorded from Yunnan, Sichuan, Fujian and Guangdong) (Smith and Xie 2008), Taiwan, Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia, and Vietnam; also on Cat Ba Island, off the coast of northern Vietnam. Introduced into Kedah and Perlis regions of Malay Peninsula as well as Java (Musser and Carleton 2005). Its spotty distribution may reflect other geographic introductions (Taiwan for example) (Musser and Carleton 2005). Sea level to about 1,500 m asl.
Countries: Native:
Bangladesh; Cambodia; China; Hong Kong; India; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Myanmar; Nepal; Sri Lanka; Thailand; Vietnam


The description of the habitat preference for the species we present thereafter is based on data gathered using the standard protocol defined during the two projects Ceropath and ANR roboviroses.
Animals were identified either using Aplin's criteria or molecular methods.
Animals caught in trap lines (sampling effort: 5600 nights/traps/habitat). Forest Flood plain Dry land Total
Bandicota savilei 0 53 56 109
Bandicota indica 0 11 6 17
Total 0 64 62 126

In females, body, uterine and preputial gland weights, occurrences of pregnancies and placental scars, and in males, testicular weights and histology, and sizes of accessory sex glands, were recorded. Pregnancies occurred predominantly, but not exclusively, in the wet season, with a higher incidence pregnancies in the second, than in the first, dry season. Uterine and preputial gland weights tended to be lower in the first, but not the second dry season, with placental scars occurring at all times of year. Males tended to have heavier testes in the wet season but some somniferous tubules contained sperm even in the dry season. Seminal vesicles, but not prostates and preputial glands, tended to be heavier in animals in the wet season. The greater bandicoot rat in Southern Thailand shows maximal reproductive activity in the wet season with some reproductive activity, albeit variable from year to year, occurring in the dry season depending upon environmental conditions.  Studies have  also shown that females, as well as males, have large preputial glands, and that males invariably have small testes regardless of the time of year. These observations suggest a similar timing of reproduction, but a different breeding biology and perhaps social organisation, from that of the sympatric rice field rat, Rattus argentiventer Greater Bandicoot Rat-borne is a carrier of the diseases leptospirosis


 Bandicota indica live  in paddy fields during the growing season, when the rice is regularly flooded. When paddy fields are dry, Bandicota indica moves near water ways or in dry cultivated lands where the food is more abundant. During this period, they live in tall grasslands, corn, pineapple fields and mixed orchards.
Burrow: Large and complex burrows with many rooms used for nesting and food storage, at the edge of fields, dikes, streams banks, and even of city streets.
Behaviour: ferocious nature, good swimmer and diver. When trapped in a cage, Bandicota indica can be recognized by its noisy growling and its threatening posture.
Food habit: omnivorous in diet, can feed largely on products of cultivation, such as rice, grains, sugar cane.


Common, and even extremely abundant; it has increased in abundance with agricultural expansion.
Population Trend: Increasing

 Major Threat(s):

There are no major threats to the species.

Conservation Actions:

It is present in several protected areas; it has been reported from more than 15 protected areas in India (Molur et al. 2005). It is listed in the Schedule V (considered as vermin) of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.