Nonsense rat

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Nonsense rat
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Muridae
Subfamily: Murinae
Genus: Rattus
Species: R. burrus
Binomial name
Rattus burrus
(Miller, 1902)
  • Mus burrescens Miller, 1902
  • Mus burrulus Miller, 1902
  • Mus burrus Miller, 1902

The nonsense rat, Nicobar Archipelago rat, or Miller's Nicobar rat (Rattus burrus) is endemic to the Nicobar Islands in India. It is found on Great Nicobar, Little Nicobar, and Trinket islands. On Car Nicobar Island, Rattus palmarum and Rattus anadamanensis are found instead of the nonsense rat.[1]

The nonsense rat was first described in 1902 by Miller, who placed it in the genus Mus.[2] Today it is classified in the genus Rattus.[1] The origin of the name "nonsense rat" is uncertain, as Miller did not provide a common name in his original description,[2] but more recent sources, such as the IUCN, include it.[1]

Habitat and distribution[edit]

The nonsense rat is endemic to the Nicobar Islands, where it is confined to isolated populations on the islands of Great Nicobar, Little Nicobar and Trinket. It inhabits tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forests.[1]


The species is currently classified as endangered by the IUCN. While little is known of its current abundance and distribution on the islands, it is likely that it suffers from habitat loss through conversion of forests to palm plantations, and general expansion of human settlements. The December 2004 tsunami is considered to have had a strong negative impact on populations.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Molur, S. & Nameer, P.O. (2008). "Rattus burrus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2008: e.T19325A8853106. Retrieved 6 December 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Miller, Gerrit S. (May 1902). "The Mammals of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands". Proceedings of the United States National Museum. Washington DC: United States National Museum. 24: 751–795. doi:10.5479/si.00963801.24-1269.751. OCLC 24358381.