Northern Luzon Giant Cloud Rat - Bashful and Bewhiskered

Northern Luzon Giant Cloud RatThe Northern Luzon giant cloud rat (Phloeomys pallidus) gets its name from its habit of dwelling in rainforest treetops, which seem to reach the clouds. Though it mainly lives in the trees, the giant cloud rat is occasionally seen foraging on the forest floor. Its native range is the northern and central provinces of the island of Luzon, in the Philippines.

This rodent reaches an average length of 700 mm, a weight of 2.6 kg and lives for about 10 to 12 years.

A coat of long, coarse fur is usually whitish or pale gray, with dark brown or black markings around the snout, eyes and ears. The tail is also covered with dense fur. A short, blunt snout is framed by long whiskers, and it has bright, black eyes and small ears. Strong hindquarters, large feet and specialized, sharp claws give the Northern Luzon giant cloud rat its tree-climbing talents and digging ability.

Nocturnal and slow-moving, the Northern Luzon giant cloud rat is a vegetarian, eating new, fresh leaves and fruit. It has also been known to raid crops and gardens near the forest edge.

Unlike its cousin, the brown rat, which can produce several litters of pups in a year, giant cloud rats reproduce only once per year, bearing only one pup.
Nests may be found in hollow trees or underground burrows. The female carries her progeny until it is able to forage on its own.

The Northern Luzon giant cloud rat has few known predators other than large birds. Because it is so slow-moving, the rodent can only protect itself with claws and a strong odor from its musk glands.

The main threat to their existence is deforestation. Destruction of rain forests by agriculture and logging companies has greatly reduced its range and habitat. Because this animal is only found in the Philippines and reproduces very slowly, the odds are becoming stacked against its survival.

Giant cloud rats are hunted by humans for their meat, and human predation has been a significant factor in their reduced population. Attempts to raise them in captivity, however, are showing some success. The Northern Luzon giant cloud rat is currently a protected species and is listed as 'near threatened', but local people of the Philippines are still allowed to hunt them.

Picture of the Northern Luzon Giant Cloud Rat at Cincinnati Zoo by Ltshears, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Keywords: nocturnal , tail , brown , white , black

The Northern luzon giant cloud rat is listed as Near Threatened (LR/nt), is close to qualifying for or is likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Namings for the northern Luzon giant cloud rat
A young / baby of a northern Luzon giant cloud rat is called a 'kitten, nestling, pinkie or pup'. The females are called 'doe' and males 'buck'. A northern Luzon giant cloud rat group is called a 'colony, horde, pack, plague or swarm'.
Some facts about the
Northern Luzon slender-tailed cloud rat

Maximum longevity : 11 years

Source: AnAge, licensed under CC

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