Northern Luzon giant cloud rat
|Northern Luzon giant cloud rat|
This very large rodent weighs 1.9–2.6 kg (4.2–5.7 lb) and is 75–77 cm (29.5–30.5 in) long. The colour of its relatively long pelage, which also covers the tail, is highly variable, but usually it is mostly very pale grey-brown or white with some dark brown or black patches. They often have a black mask and collar, but can also be entirely white. The northern Luzon giant cloud rat has a slender tail, while the southern giant slender-tailed cloud rat, the only other species in the genus Phloeomys, has a bushy tail.
Distribution and habitat
The northern Luzon giant cloud rat is only found in northern and central part of Luzon, the Philippines. It is found in at least 12 provinces. The northern Luzon giant cloud rat prefers forest and scrub, but also occurs in degraded habitats such as plantations. It occurs from sea level to an altitude of about 2,200 metres (7,200 ft). In some areas it overlaps with the rarer giant bushy-tailed cloud rat, but that species mainly occurs at higher altitudes than the northern Luzon giant cloud rat.
The northern Luzon giant cloud rat is nocturnal and feeds on various types of vegetation. Because of its relatively large size, it does not enter traditional small-mammal traps and this has limited research in the species.
Northern Luzon giant cloud rats often live in pairs with one or two dependent young. They give birth in hollow boles of trees (standing or fallen) or in burrows in the ground. The sperm head of northern Luzon giant cloud rat has a short apical hook, with the sperm tail attached off-center basally. The tail of the sperm is about 127 µm long.
The northern Luzon giant cloud rat can cause extensive damage to rice crops and are sometimes considered a pest. They are regularly hunted for food in the Sierra Madre. It has been extirpated from some regions because of hunting, but overall it appears to be able to withstand hunting pressure and in general it remains common and widespread.
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