SPINY RAT – Proechimys semispinosus


Spiny rat facts: The spiny rat is about the size of a common house rat, except with a larger head and smaller ears. Head and body length is 6.4 to 12 inches (16.0 to 30.0 centimeters) and a tail length of 4.4 to 12.8 inches (11.2 to 32.5 centimeters). They weigh from 10.5 to 17.5 ounces (300 to 500 grams). Their fur is orangebrown on the upper body and white underneath.

Geographic range: The spiny rat is found in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.

Spiny rat habitat: The spiny rat lives in rainforest, usually in dense underbrush and near rivers and streams.

What does spiny rat eat: They are mostly herbivores, feeding primarily on fallen fruit but sometimes on fungi.

Behavior and reproduction: The spiny rat is nocturnal, meaning it is mostly active at night. It sleeps, nests, and stores food in burrows dug by other animals, rock crevices, or hollows in trees or logs. It does not dig its own burrow. The male defends its burrow against other males. The lifespan of the spiny rat is two to four years.

The species breeds throughout the year and the females may have three to six litters per year. The gestation period, the time the female carries a litter in her womb, is sixty-three to sixty-six days, with the number of babies ranging from one to five. They reach sexual maturity at six to seven months.

Spiny rats and people: Spiny rats are trapped and eaten by local people.

Conservation status: The IUCN does not consider the spiny rat to be threatened.