Zoologists found in the Solomon Islands, the mythical giant rat

© Velizar Simeonovski, The Field Meeintg the artist imagined a giant rat, found in the Solomon IslandsZoologists found in the Solomon Islands, the mythical giant rat© Velizar Simeonovski, The Field Museum

American zoologists managed to find in the Solomon Islands, the first real traces of the giant rats, which was considered almost mythical. This rodent is able to compete in size with smaller breeds of dogs and cats, according to a paper published in the Journal of Mammology.

«A new species of mammal are truly an amazing creature – a huge, just a giant rat. This is the first species of rats found in the last 80 years in the Solomon Islands, the remains of which scientists had unsuccessfully searched for all this time,» says Tyrone Lavery (Tyrone Lavery) from the Field Museum of Chicago (USA).

The first travelers, who are on the tropical Islands of the Caribbean and the Indian ocean, often told in his memoirs that on these scraps of land inhabited by unusually large and aggressive rats and other rodents, in size resembling cats and dogs, but not their relatives from Europe.

Most of these «megaris», as they say scientists, became extinct after the Islands came civilization and with its invariable attributes – mass felling of trees, dogs and other Pets are able to catch and eat rodents. According to the calculations of geneticists, during the first two centuries of colonization of America, Europeans have destroyed two dozen species of rats.

In Solomon Islands, as told by Lavery, since there is a legend about the giant rats, leading secretive way of life and really reaching a record size – the stories of local residents, up to 50 centimetres in length. Scientists for more than 80 years trying to find «the Vic» as it is called rat the natives, however, still to discover that a mythical creature was not possible.

According to the zoologist, he participated in the fruitless quest, and recently began to doubt that «wick» really exists, and was inclined to believe that the locals believed the usual black rat the separate views, and attributed them unusual properties.

Shortly thereafter, he was lucky – walking through the forest, he saw a rat crawl from under the newly fallen tree. Its unusually large size and unique skull immediately suggested the zoologist that he is dealing with a new mammal species.

This rat, named Uromys vika really was a very large rodent – about a kilogram of weight and about 45 inches in length. Such large dimensions, as scientists assume, can be attributed to the unusual diet of this is not a mythical creature – Vika eats coconut, gnawing the shell, and eating the flesh.

Difficulties with detection rats, explains Lavery, due to the fact that she lives not on earth, as almost all the rest of the rats and the trees and rarely coming down. As the scientist believes, the ancestors of rats came to Solomon Islands as well as many other «megacrisis» by a makeshift «rafting», traveling on the trunks of trees, thrown into the sea rivers of Asia or Australia.

Like many other inhabitants of tropical Islands, Uromys vika, according to zoologist, most likely, once you get into the Red book as a species threatened by extinction, as its population is small, and on the island of Vangunu where Lavery he found that mythical beast, are deforestation. Scientists hope that the authorities of the archipelago in the near future will take measures to protect this new species.

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