Gorgas’s Rice Rat

Gorgas’s Rice Rat, also known as Gorgas’s Oryzomys or Oryzomys gorgasi is a rodent that belongs to the family Cricetidae. It was first collected alive in 1967 and is only known to inhabit a few locations such as a freshwater swamp in the lowlands of north-western Colombia as well as a mangrove islet in north-western Venezuela. This area actually was an island of Curacao which was nearby north-western Venezula.

Blue marks the known locations of Gorgas's rice rat
Blue marks the known locations of Gorgas's rice rat

Gorgas’s Rice Rat is a medium-sized brownish rodent. It has large feet which are specialized for semi-aquatic life. It is different from other Oryzomys species due to features from its skull. Its diet includes plant material, insects, and crustaceans. Parasitic nematodes infect Gorgas’s Rice Rat. It measures around 220 – 290 cm.

This rodent is listed as an endangered species by the IUCN as of 2009. This is because this species may be threatened because of the destruction of its habitat as well as increased competition with the introduced black rat. Fortunately, this rodent does live in one protected area. Suitable habitats for this rodent do exist within inland Venezuela but further study is required to ensure that conditions are suitable. The extinction of its Curacao relatives may have also been caused by competition with the black rat.

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