Fun Pouched Rat Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
May 10, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel
Pouched rat facts are all about a group of rats belonging to the same sub-family.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.2 Min

The pouched rat is referred to as a rodent and consists of a variety of African rodents in its family. Their name 'pouched rat' is derived from their cheek pouches used to accumulate and transport food to feed their nestlings and store nesting materials for building their nests.

These rodent species are native to Sub-Saharan Africa. They are also known as termite mounds and African giant pouched rats.

This rodent species lives in varied forest habitats such as woodland thickets. Gambian pouched rats (Cricetomys gambianus) are nocturnal, and they generally forage and search for food during the night.

These intelligent animals are omnivores and their diet mainly includes vegetation, nuts, and small invertebrates. They use olfactory receptors to keep track of their food and predators. Southern African giant pouched rats (Cricetomys Ansorgei) have brown fur.

Interestingly, pouched rats that are a member of the Nesomyidae family are not directly related rather are distantly related to the original rat family (Muridae family). This rodent species is versatile as it can easily adapt to habitats and even adapt to living as a pet.

Continue reading for more facts about these African giant pouched rats. You can also read our other articles on water rats and nutria rats.

Pouched Rat Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a pouched rat?

Pouched rats are referred to as a varied group of African rodents who are all subfamily members of Cricetomyinae and the genus Cricetomys.

What class of animal does a pouched rat belong to?

Pouched rats belong to the class of Mammalia or mammals and the genus Cricetomys.

How many pouched rats are there in the world?

As they are likely to be overhunted for pet trades and killed because they are considered to be pests, the number of pouched rats is declining every day. The total number of pouched rats alive in the world is not yet evaluated or known.

Where does a pouched rat live?

A pouched rat generally lives in tropical forests, woodland thickets, and dry arid regions. Species of pouched rats like the African giant pouched rat and the Gambian pouched rat are endemic to the region of sub-Saharan Africa and are found in Senegal, Kenya, Angola, Mozambique, and even in South Africa.

What is a pouched rat's habitat?

A Gambian pouched rat may occupy an assortment of habitats going from bone-dry territories to mild zones. However, along with the African giant pouched rat, they need some type of sanctuary to endure. They prefer territories covered by empty trees, rock outcroppings, or tunnels made by different creatures.

Who do pouched rats live with?

A Gambian pouched rat is friendly, sedentary, and usually lives in colonies with other rats. The African giant pouched rat also exhibits similar behavior.

How long does a pouched rat live?

A Gambian pouched rat can live for more than seven years. Their lifespan and age generally depend upon the habitat they are in.

How do they reproduce?

Gambian pouched rats are monogamous, and mating in Gambian pouched rats includes developing a social pair connection between a male Gambian pouched rat and a female Gambian pouched rat. Their breeding season occurs during the summer seasons and breeding occurs every nine months. Females can have up to four litters and each litter consists of six eggs.

On average, Gambian pouched rates have two to three litters in a year. The gestation period is supposed to last for about a month, followed by young ones born with eyes, bare (hairless), and ears closed.

As these pouched rats are born altricial, they are nourished and given parental care until they are 28 days old.

It is only females who nourish and look after the young ones whereas, males never take part in parental care and they may even kill and eat their young ones. The young giant pouched rat reaches its sexual maturity at the age of five to seven months.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), giant pouched rats are listed as Least Concern in their conservation Red List.

Pouched Rat Fun Facts

What do pouched rats look like?

Gambian pouched rats are comparatively larger than different types of pouched rodents such as African goliath pouched rats and are frequently mistaken for this species. Their long tail is textured, and they have tight heads with little eyes.

The principal attribute of this Gambian rodent, and all of the Cricetomys genus overall, is its enormous cheek pouches on its body.

These cheek pouches can grow to an incredible size, allowing Gambian pouched rats to ship huge amounts of food. Males and females are generally of similar size with minimal sexual dimorphism.

Gambian pouched rats can grow sizes up to 36 in (91 cm), including the tail. Likewise, they have a low-fat substance which might be the reason for their susceptibility to cold.

A small pouched rat on the ground.

How cute are they?

They are cute and their cheek pouches make them even cuter. Additionally, some species of pouched rats are very intelligent, enthusiastic, and playful.

How do they communicate?

On average, Gambian pouched rats use shrieking as their principal type of correspondence. Gambian pouched rats emanate one single short cry which is detectable from the assorted long pitches of African giant pouched rats. Males utilize olfactory signals during courtship with females as they sniff leftover urine.

How big is a pouched rat?

Gambian pouched rats are 25-36 in (63-91 cm), and Southern African giant pouched rats are 29 in (75 cm) in length. Usually, the tail is 14 -18 in (35.5-45.7 cm) in length. They are known as the biggest breed of rats. They are almost triple the size of the common degus.

How fast can pouched rats run?

An African giant pouch rat is a very skilled climber and runner. However, its speed is not yet evaluated.

How much does a pouched rat weigh?

An African giant pouched rat weighs 2-3 lb (1-1.4 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

For this species, a female is known as a doe, whereas a male is called a buck.

What would you call a baby pouched rat?

A pouched baby rat can be referred to as a pup, pinkie, or kit.

What do they eat?

Gambian rodents are omnivores and so they feed on both vegetation and insects. Their diet consists of crabs, seeds, termites, nuts, vegetables, snails, and other insects. They are most likely to prefer eating palm kernels and palm fruits. They also feed on a variety of organic products and even bugs when accessible.

Their diet also incorporates cassava, beans, yams, and different roots. They search for food mainly during the night as they are nocturnal. These animals store and carry food in their body.

Are they dangerous?

No, they are not dangerous. They do not pose any danger to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they are very playful and destructive. They would not thrive in captivity as they are wild animals. Also, it is illegal to keep pouched rats as a pet in the U.S. and many other countries.

Did you know...

Giant pouched rats undergo a training process where they are trained to detect mines as they sniff out land mines. The rats are used to detect land mines. Moreover, they have excellent precision as they avoid scrap metals and boulders while detecting mines.

Is a pouched rat a marsupial?

No, they can not be considered marsupials.

Are rats smarter than dogs?

Dogs show a hypothesis of the brain by taking part in misdirection. Rats can perceive demeanors of agony on other rats' appearances and respond to them. Rats can perceive their names and react when called.

They like assortment as they eat the most delectable part of the food first. Rats are somewhat more intelligent and clever than dogs. Even though they are really smart, chimpanzees are regarded as the smartest animal on earth.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including maned wolves or white-bellied spider monkeys.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our pouched rat coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel

Bachelor of Business Management

Yashvee Patel picture

Yashvee PatelBachelor of Business Management

Yashvee has won awards for both her writing and badminton skills. She holds a business administration honors degree and has previously interned with social media clients and worked on content for an international student festival. Yashvee has excelled in academic competitions, ranking in the top 100 in the Unified International English Olympiad and placing second in an essay-writing competition. Additionally, she has won the inter-school singles badminton title for two consecutive years.

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