Hammond’s Rice Rat

Hammond’s Rice Rat is also known as Hammond’s Orzyomys. It is a rodent species that belongs to the tribe, Oryzomyini of the family, Cricetidae. It is only known to occur in Ecuador’s montane forest. It is reported to live on the ground and is associated with water and lives in trees. It has a large, long tail and has long whiskers.

The Hammond's Rice Rat's skull, published in 1962
The Hammond's Rice Rat's skull, published in 1962

Hammond’s Rice Rat is rather large compared to other rats within its range. Its fur is quite short and woolly. It has a small and dark ears that look hairless. Specimens found that have published measurements indicate that the head to body length of Hammond’s Rice Rat is about 173 – 203 mm long, while its tail is longer at about 251 mm.

Hammond’s Rice Rat is a rare species. Only 8 specimens were found between 1913 and 1980 in Mindo which is a small agricultural community located 4,150 ft in elevation in Pichincha Province in north-western Ecuador. Another species was found in the Amazonian lowlands but this is thought to be dubious.

The biology of Hammond’s Rice Rat is unknown. Some suggest that these animals are nocturnal and are solitary animals which eat insects, fruits, and seeds. The IUCN Red List 2009 states that it lives on the ground (although some say it lives in trees) and has some kidnd of affinity for water. The Red List states that this creature is endangered as it has a small known range and distribution. This may continue to decline as 40% of its habitat is destroyed and the last known confirmed sighting of this species was in 1980.

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