dassie rat

dassie rat

rodent
      a medium-sized rodent adapted to life among rocky outcrops in the desert hills and plateaus of southwestern Africa. The dassie rat weighs 170 to 300 grams (6 to 11 ounces) and has a squirrel-like body 14 to 21 cm (5.5 to 8.3 inches) long; its hairy tail is 12 to 17 cm long. The soft, silky fur ranges from pale gray to dark chocolate brown, although some populations have black coats. The dassie rat has a broad, flattened head and extremely flexible ribs and is thereby able to flatten itself against rocks and squeeze into tight places.

      Active during the day, dassie rats move alone or in pairs and sun themselves when not foraging on grasses, flowers, leaves, and fruit. Among rodents, they are unique in regurgitating food into the mouth, chewing it again, and reswallowing, a behaviour found elsewhere only among artiodactyls (artiodactyl) such as cattle. Dassie rats are swift runners and agile jumpers in their rocky habitat, but they are also adept at climbing shrubs and trees to harvest leaves. They breed once a year in summer, bearing one or two well-developed young per litter.

      Petromus typicus is the only living member of the family Petromuridae; the genus has also been called Petromys and the family Petromyidae. Both spellings of the name mean “rock mouse” in Greek. The dassie rat, however, is neither a rat nor a mouse (family Muridae); it is instead classified in the suborder Hystricognatha within the order Rodentia (rodent). The dassie rat's closest living relatives are the two species of cane rats (cane rat) (family Thyronomyidae). Dassie and cane rats are actually relict species, living remnants of an extinct diversity encompassing 17 genera from four or five families that lived in Africa as early as 35 million years ago during the Late Eocene Epoch.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dassie Rat — Temporal range: Pleistocene–Recent …   Wikipedia

  • dassie rat — uolinė žiurkė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Petromus typicus angl. African rock rat; dassie rat; rock rat vok. Felsenmaus; Felsenratte rus. скальная крыса pranc. rat de rochers; rat typique ryšiai:… …   Žinduolių pavadinimų žodynas

  • dassie rat — noun : a sand colored diurnal hystricomorph rodent (genus Petromus or Petromys) of southern African uplands having long silky fur, a bushy tail, and a head suggesting that of a squirrel …   Useful english dictionary

  • rat de rochers — uolinė žiurkė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Petromus typicus angl. African rock rat; dassie rat; rock rat vok. Felsenmaus; Felsenratte rus. скальная крыса pranc. rat de rochers; rat typique ryšiai:… …   Žinduolių pavadinimų žodynas

  • rat typique — uolinė žiurkė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Petromus typicus angl. African rock rat; dassie rat; rock rat vok. Felsenmaus; Felsenratte rus. скальная крыса pranc. rat de rochers; rat typique ryšiai:… …   Žinduolių pavadinimų žodynas

  • Chinchilla rat — For alternative meanings, see Chinchilla (disambiguation). Chinchilla rats Temporal range: Late Miocene–Recent …   Wikipedia

  • Laotian rock rat — Taxobox name = Laotian rock rat fossil range = Recent image caption = Laonastes by a Diatomys fossil status = NE status system = iucn3.1 regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Mammalia ordo = Rodentia subordo = Hystricomorpha familia =… …   Wikipedia

  • Cane rat — Cane rats Temporal range: Eocene–Recent …   Wikipedia

  • African rock rat — uolinė žiurkė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Petromus typicus angl. African rock rat; dassie rat; rock rat vok. Felsenmaus; Felsenratte rus. скальная крыса pranc. rat de rochers; rat typique ryšiai:… …   Žinduolių pavadinimų žodynas

  • rock rat — uolinė žiurkė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Petromus typicus angl. African rock rat; dassie rat; rock rat vok. Felsenmaus; Felsenratte rus. скальная крыса pranc. rat de rochers; rat typique ryšiai:… …   Žinduolių pavadinimų žodynas

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