Insular cave rat
This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Insular cave rat|
Temporal range: Holocene
Species and description
Spiny rats are a group of hystricognath rodents in the family Echimyidae. They are distributed from Central America through much of South America. They were also found in the West Indies until the 1800s. Most species have stiff pointed hairs, or a bristly coat of flat flexible spines that allow for protection. Many echimyids can break off their tails when attacked. This action confuses predators long enough for the animal to escape. Unlike lizards, however, the tail of spiny rats does not regenerate. This technique can obviously be used only once in each individual's lifetime. This species most likely did not do well in conditions of high heat and aridity and are restricted to regions with an abundant source of water.
These rats were almost exclusively herbivorous. Their diet most likely included fruits, nuts, grass, and sugar cane. Several species, including Rato de Taquara, eat only bamboo shoots and leaves.
- Turvey, S.T.; Oliver, J.R.; Storde, Y.M. Narganes; Rye, P (2007). "Late Holocene extinction of Puerto Rican native land mammals". Biology Letters. 3 (2): 193–196. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2006.0585. PMC 2375922. PMID 17251123.
- "Taxon profile: Insular Cave Rat". Retrieved 2012-06-15.
- "Heteropsomys insulans". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2012-06-15.old-form url
- "New fossil rodents from Porto Rico; with additional notes on Elasmodontomys obliquus Anthony and Heteropsomys insulans Anthony". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 37. hdl:2246/1335.
- "Heteropsomys insulans : insular cave rat : classification". Retrieved 2012-06-15.
- "Spiny Rats: Echimyidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Spiny Rat (proechimys Semispinosus): Species Account - Geographic Range, Diet, Spiny Rats and People, Conservation Status". Retrieved 2012-06-15.
- "American spiny rat". Britannica. Retrieved 2012-06-15.