Hoary Bamboo Rat (Rhizomys pruinosus)


Size. HB: 256-350; T: 100-124; E: 18-26; HF: 45-61; W: 1-3 kg

A stocky rodent with long greyish brown fur, with many white tipped hairs intermingled; the posterior footpads are granular and seperate.The upper parts are slightly darker than the underparts. Many hairs are grey at the base, brown in the middle and white tips, giving the pelage a frosted effect.. The feet are brown, and have granular pads on the soles; the 2 posterior pads are separate. The fur is  thick and lustrous in the northern part of the range, but is thinner and harsher in the southern range. The young are snowy white, with black eyes and reddish feet and tail (Thomas 1927) There is no sexual dimorphism in this species. There are one or 2 pairs of pectoral mammae and 3 pairs of abdominal mammae. The skull is broad and flattened with prominent occipital condyles; the sagittal ridge is much lower than in sumatrenis.  From the dorsal view the zygomatic arch joins the frontal bones at an obtuse angle. The ridges on each side of the palette are less developed than in sumatrenis. The first upper molar is slightly smaller than the second molar. The incisors do not project as much as in sumatrenis, and the diastema is less than 60% of the occipitonasal length.


This widely distributed species is found in Southern China (Yunnan, Ghizhou, Sichuan, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangxi, Guangdong, and Fujian), Northern and North-Eastern India (Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Manipur up to 1,500 m asl [Molur et al. 2005]), Eastern Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Vietnam, south to Perak on the Malay Peninsula, at altitudes between 100 m and 4,000 m asl (Musser and Carleton, 2005).In general, this species can be locally abundant. It was found to be rare during market surveys in the lowlands of Lao PDR, but commonly traded in markets in mountainous areas (Francis 1999). There is no information available on the population abundance of this species in South Asia (Molur et al. 2005).
Countries: Native:
Cambodia; China; India; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Myanmar; Thailand; Vietnam

Habitat and Ecology:

It is found in bamboo hill and montane forest in Thailand (Lekagul and McNeely 1977). Xu (1984) reports records of this species from grassland intermixed with secondary forests, shrub forests, bamboo groves, with a smaller number of specimens from pine, fir, and other artificial forests. In South Asia, it occurs in tropical and subtropical deciduous forests. It is found to occupy bamboo thickets (Molur et al. 2005). There seems to be consensus that they are not found in agricultural fields and rarely in deep forest, with some affiliation with bamboo. It is a long-lived, relatively slow-maturing, with a small litter size (one or two young).
Systems: Terrestrial

Major Threat(s):

The only threat to this species is that it is hunted for food, since they are easy to find and conspicuous. In South Asia, the species is threatened by habitat loss and degradation due to shifting cultivation, bamboo extraction and hunting for local consumption (Molur et al. 2005).

Conservation Actions:

 It is present in several protected areas across its range. In South Asia, it is known from the following protected areas in India: Dampa Wildlife Sanctuary, Mizoram and Namdapha National Park, Arunachal Pradesh (Molur et al. 2005). The species is included in the Schedule V (considered as vermin) of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. In South Asia, surveys, life history studies, and population monitoring are recommended for this species (Molur et al. 2005).The Hoary bamboo rat is listed as Least Concern , lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species