Lesser Bamboo Rat (Cannomys badius)
HB;147-265; T: 60-75; E: 7-10;
Dental formula. is 1/1 0/0 0/0 3/3x2=16. The incisors are thick and relatively blunt; and grow thought-out the animals life. The incisors are used for both eating and digging and protrude beyond the lips. The root of the lower incisor continues to the hind edge of the mandible, forming a knob on the outer side of the ramus; the root of the upper incisor extends back to above the molars, but is difficult to observe than in the lower. The molars are flat crowned, with a pattern of folds which become isolated as islands as the teeth wear. The surface of the upper molars is slanted markedly outwards, with the surface, with the surface of the lower molars slanted correspondingly inward, with the last molar the smallest.
The fur is soft and fine and as season variations. They are adapted to burrowing with a short, stout, rounded body, small eyes and ears, and a short smooth tail, short legs and short stout claws. There are no cheek pouches.
The skull is rather flat with a marked postorbital constriction and a triangular braincase The footpads are smooth.
This species ranges from eastern Nepal (up to 2,000 m asl
[Molur et al. 2005]), through northeast India (Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya,
Mizoram, Nagaland and West Bengal), Bhutan, south-eastern Bangladesh, Myanmar,
South China, Northwest Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia (Musser and Carleton
2005). Species within this complex have generally been recorded from roughly sea
level to around 4,000 m asl. This is an unresolved species complex, with some
taxa restricted to certain elevations, the altitudinal range is not constant
throughout the known range.
Cambodia; India; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Myanmar; Nepal; Thailand; Vietnam
Habitat and Ecology:
This species complex has been recorded from a wide
variety of habitats, ranging from bamboo forest to cultivated land, and other
disturbed areas (although it is not present in rice paddies). In South Asia it
occurs in montane temperate forest and bamboo forests in subtropical forest
tracts; with animals found under bamboo clumps (Molur et al. 2005). Diet
consists of young grass, leaves and bamboo roots. The do not normally
drink water, obtaining liquid from their food or licking dew from leaves. They
usually spend the day in their burrows, coming out in the evening and roaming
widely through bamboo groves. Their major predators are owls and small
carnivores, though hill tribes go to great lengths to catch them, because of
their excellent flesh.Dispite hunting and predation pressures they seem to be
secure because so much of the country is covered with dense bamboo stands which
is the preferred habitat.They are
long-lived species that have only one or two young in a litter. The gestation
period is 42 days and the young are weaned at 61 days. The young are 7 g at
birth. Can be
locally very abundant in some areas. It is said to be vicious when cornered,
charging the enemy and biting with the incisors.
In general the species is quite heavily exploited in some
areas for food, and isolated populations in particular may be declining through
over harvesting. It is also killed as a pest of rubber plantations in parts of
its range (such as Myanmar), and may occur in densities of up to 600 animals per
hectare (Ken Aplin pers. comm.). In South Asia, it is locally threatened by
habitat loss due to jhum (shifting) cultivation, forest fires and harvesting for
subsistence use (Molur et al. 2005).
In general, animals are presumably found in a number of protected areas. It is known from the following protected areas in India and Nepal - India: Dampa Wildlife Sanctuary, Mizoram; Nepal: Royal Chitwan National Park, Central Nepal and Makalu Barun National Park, Eastern Nepal (Molur et al. 2005). The species is included in the Schedule V (considered as vermin) of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Further studies are needed into the distribution, abundance, ecology, and threats to these poorly-known taxa.