Target rat

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Target rat
Temporal range: Recent
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Muridae
Subfamily: Murinae
Genus: Stochomys
Thomas, 1926
Species: S. longicaudatus
Binomial name
Stochomys longicaudatus
(Tullberg, 1893)

Mus sebastianus

The target rat (Stochomys longicaudatus) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae. It is the only species in the genus Stochomys. It is found in Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, Togo, and Uganda. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.


The target rat is so named because it has a number of long bristles projecting from its rump which resemble the shafts of arrows in a target. The synonym Mus sebastianus also refers to this, Saint Sebastian being an early Christian martyr said to have been tied to a tree and shot with arrows. The fur is dark reddish-brown and the tail very long.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The target rat is native to humid rainforests in tropical western Central Africa. Its range extends from Togo through Benin and Nigeria to the Congo Basin and eastwards to western Uganda.[1] It occurs in swampy areas of forests and in gallery forests and beside streams. It has also been observed in secondary forests around villages and in banana plantations.[2]


The target rat is largely nocturnal and feeds on the ground on green vegetable material and fallen fruit, supplementing these with some insects. Little is known of the social organisation of this species but in Cameroon a group of thirteen was caught at one location in an oil palm plantation. This rat seems to breed at any time of year.[2]


The target rat has a wide range and is a common species. It is presumed to have a large population and no particular threats have been identified. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".[1]


  1. ^ a b c Boitani, L. (2008). "Stochomys longicaudatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 11 November 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Jonathan Kingdon (1984). East African Mammals: An Atlas of Evolution in Africa, Volume 2, Part B: Hares and Rodents. University of Chicago Press. p. 599. ISBN 978-0-226-43720-0.