The rodent which is said to be able to break coconuts with its teeth, was quickly classified as an endangered species. The rat was found in a tropical forest in the Solomon Islands.
The animal measures about 30 cm in length from the nose to the end of its tail. And, even more impressively, it weighs more than one kilogram, which is five times the weight of a “normal” rat and lives in tall trees about ten meters.
The creature has a mythical reputation, having never been spotted by the populations of the island.
Tyrone Lavery, a mammalogist at the Field Museum in Chicago, first heard rumors about the giant on his first visit in 2010. He searched and hunted for seven years before finally discovering it.
“I started to wonder if it was really a separate species, or if people just called regular vika rats ,” said Lavery.
“The new species, Uromys vika, is quite spectacular, it’s a big giant rat.”
“It’s the first rat discovered in 80 years in Solomons, and it’s not like people have not tried – it was so hard to find.”
“I was excited because I had just started my Ph.D. and read a lot of books about people who do adventures and discover new species,” Lavery said.
“It’s a really interesting case.” .
“And there are ancient history notes from anthropologists and others who have visited the island saying that these things exist.”
“Secondly, it is important to know that they exist so that we can find ways to conserve them.”
” In the case of vika, it seems that logging is a very important threat to the species.”
The document describing the discovery, published in the journal Mammalogy, recommends listing it in the “seriously threatened” category by IUCN.