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Giant Gambian Pouched Rat Skull Replica measures 7.7cm or 3 inches. The Giant Gambian Pouched Rat Skull Replica is Museum quality, cast in Polyurethane resins and made in USA. Cricetomys gambianus, giant pouched rat. Native to sub-Saharan Africa, these large rats range from 36-46 cm (14-18 in). Named for their large cheek pouches, this nocturnal species is omnivorous, feeding on vegetation and invertebrates.
Unlike domestic rats, it has cheek pouches like a hamster. These cheek pouches allow it to gather up several kilograms of nuts per night for storage underground. It has been known to stuff its pouches so full of date palm nuts so as to be hardly able to squeeze through the entrance of its burrow. The burrow consists of a long passage with side alleys and several chambers, one for sleeping and the others for storage. It has up to four litters every nine months, with up to six offspring in each litter. Males are territorial and tend to be aggressive when they encounter one another.
The Gambian pouched rat has very poor eyesight and so depends on its senses of smell and hearing. Its name comes from the large, hamster-like pouches in its cheeks. It is not a true rat but is part of an African branch of muroid rodents. It typically weighs between 1 and 1.4 kilograms (2.2 and 3.1 lb). In its native Africa, the pouched rat lives in colonies of up to twenty, usually in forests and thickets, but also commonly in termite mounds. It is omnivorous, feeding on vegetables, insects, crabs, snails and other items, but prefers palm fruits and palm kernels.
Gambian pouched rats have become an invasive species on Grassy Key in the Florida Keys, after a private breeders animals escaped. This African rodent is also believed to be responsible for the 2003 outbreak of monkeypox in the United States, after spreading it to prairie dogs which were purchased as pets. In 2003, the United States’ CDC and FDA issued an order preventing the importation of the rodents following the first reported outbreak of monkeypox. Around 20 individuals were affected.
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