Lesser bandicoot rat

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Lesser bandicoot rat
Bandicota bengalensis Hardwicke.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Muridae
Subfamily: Murinae
Genus: Bandicota
Species: B. bengalensis
Binomial name
Bandicota bengalensis
Gray, 1835

The lesser bandicoot rat or Indian mole-rat (Bandicota bengalensis) is a giant rat of Southern Asia, not related to the true bandicoots. They can be up to 40 cm long (including the tail), are considered a pest in the cereal crops and gardens of India and Sri Lanka, and emit piglike grunts when attacking. The name bandicoot is derived from the Telugu language word pandikokku, which translates loosely to "pig-rat".[1] Like the better known rats in the genus Rattus, bandicoot rats are members of the family Muridae. Their fur is dark or (rarely) pale brown dorsally, occasionally blackish, and light to dark grey ventrally. The head-body length is around 250 mm, and the uniformly dark tail is shorter than the head-body length.

In Sri Lanka, the bandicoot rat is known as heen uru-meeya හීන් ඌරු මීයා in Sinhala Language, the meaning of which directly translates to "pig-rat".

These rats are also known to inhabit houses in villages and are particularly aggressive when threatened. The controls are done by mechanical (mouse trap etc.), rodenticides and biological control (by introducing rodent diseases etc.)


The lesser bandicoot and two other species are nocturnal or most active at twilight. They construct burrows to nest and bear their litters. The number of bandicoot babies can range from two to 18. Their staple diet is grains, fruit and invertebrates. They are prone to destroying cultivated crops in fields. Of all the three species, the lesser bandicoot is an especially aggressive burrower and has been reported to make tunnels in concrete cellars.[2]


  1. ^ Yule, Henry, Sir (New ed. edited by William Crooke, B.A.) (1903) Hobson-Jobson: A glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms, etymological, historical, geographical and discursive. J. Murray, London. online
  2. ^ "Bandicoot (Rat)". Britannica encyclopedia. Retrieved 17 May 2012.