Chinese bamboo rat
|Chinese bamboo rat|
J. E. Gray, 1831
The Chinese bamboo rat (Rhizomys sinensis) is a species of rodent in the family Spalacidae found in southern China, southern Myanmar, and northern Vietnam. Its habitat is bamboo thickets usually at high elevations, pine forests, and plantations.
The head and body length is 216 to 380 mm (8.5 to 15.0 in) with a tail of 50 to 96 mm (2.0 to 3.8 in) and the weight is 1,875 to 1,950 g (66.1 to 68.8 oz). The fur is soft with no guard hairs as are seen in the closely related hoary bamboo rat (Rhizomys pruinosus). On the side of the face and the crown the fur is dark greyish brown and on the body paler greyish brown. The under parts are scantily haired.
The Chinese bamboo rat is solitary, except during the breeding season. It breeds all year round, with a spring peak; litters of two to four young (eight maximum) are born naked, and are weaned at three months. Territory is marked by four to seven soil mounds marking plugged entrances (20 to 40 cm high and 50 to 80 cm across). Burrows are 20 to 30 cm deep and up to 45 m long. Escape tunnel are always at the ready, loosely plugged with soil. The nest chamber is 20 to 25 cm across and is lined with bamboo leaves. Mostly, it feeds on bamboo shoots and roots, usually on the surface, and moves on after about a year as the food supply becomes depleted. Predators include the snow leopard and the red panda.
The Chinese bamboo rat has a very wide range, is common in some localities, is considered a plantation pest in parts of China, and is presumed to have a large total population. The main threat it faces is being hunted by man for food. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed it as being of "least concern".
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- Lunde, D.; Aplin, K.; Musser, G. (2008). "Rhizomys sinensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2014-09-30. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.
- Andrew T. Smith; Yan Xie (2008). A guide to the mammals of China. Princeton University Press. pp. 213–214. ISBN 978-0-691-09984-2.
- John Edward Gray. Characters of three new genera, including two new species of Mammalia from China. "Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London”. 1, s. 94–96, 1831. Zoological Society of London