Moonrat

Moonrat

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Family
Subfamily
Genus
SPECIES
Echinosorex gymnura
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
5 yrs
WEIGHT
870-1,100 g
LENGTH
32-40 cm

The moonrat is a fairly small, primarily carnivorous animal that, despite its name, is not closely related to rats or other rodents. It has a distinct pungent odor with strong ammonia content, different from the musky smell of carnivores. The moonrat has two subspecies that differ in their coloration. One has a white or grey-white head and frontal half of the body; the rest of the body is mainly black. The other subspecies is generally white, with a sparse scattering of black hairs; it appears totally white from a distance.

Distribution

Moonrats are found in southeast Asia and occur in southern Myanmar, Peninsular Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, and Sumatra. They live in moist forests including mangroves and swamp forests and may also be found in gardens and plantations.

Moonrat habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Moonrats are nocturnal and terrestrial animals that prefer moist areas and often enter the water. During the day they usually rest under logs, roots, or in abandoned burrows of other animals. Monnrats live alone and are very territorial. They release strong odors with a strong ammonia content to mark the edges of their territories and warn other moonrats to stay away with threatening hisses also to ward off predators.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Moonrats are carnivores and eat a wide range of worms, insects, crabs, and other invertebrates found in moist areas. They will also eat fruit, and occasionally frogs or fish.

Mating Habits

REPRODUCTION SEASON
year-round
PREGNANCY DURATION
35-40 days
BABY CARRYING
2 young

Moonrats are able to breed throughout the year. When they are preparing to have young, they will make nests mostly from leaves. The gestation period lasts 35-40 days and females usually have 2 babies at one time.

Population

Population threats

The main threat to the moonrat is deforestation activities due to human development for agriculture, plantation, and commercial logging. Moreover, other demands from Penan in Borneo for food and traditional medicine also contribute to decreasing numbers of moonrats in Borneo.

Population number

According to IUCN, the moonrat is locally common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.

References

1. Moonrat on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonrat
2. Moonrat on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/40603/22326807

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