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R.O.U.S. ALERT: Giant Tree-Dwelling Rats Are Totally A Thing

By Tori Preston | Miscellaneous | September 28, 2017 |

By Tori Preston | Miscellaneous | September 28, 2017 |

“Rodents of Unusual Size? I don’t think they exist,” you’re probably thinking. And you’d be wrong. Turns out you don’t need to head to your nearest fire swamp to see an R.O.U.S. You can simply travel to the Solomon Islands, where they LIVE IN THE GODDAMN TREES. Locals had been telling scientists about these mysterious treetop horrors for more than 20 years, but the stuff of nightmares became all too real in 2015 when loggers cut down a tree on the island of Vangunu… and a new species of rat came down with it.

The Vangunu giant rat (Uromys vika) clocks in at over 2 lbs and can grow up to 1.5 feet long — making them about 4 times larger the average city rat. Somewhere in NYC there’s a certain furry sensei who’s all like:


But it’s important to remember that while city rats are content to dumpster dive and live in sewers, the Vangunu giant rat could fall on you from the sky at any moment! Oh sure, they’ve adapted to a life in the trees, with their wide hind feet and long, creepy hairless tails, but one misstep and BAM — they’re on your fucking head. They use their big ratty teeth to chew Canarium nuts, but locals also claim they enjoy coconuts. Yeah, so do I — but I’ll take it in a frozen cocktail rather than gnawing into it like a goddamn savage.

According to experts, this area of the Pacific, which includes the Solomon Islands and their neighbors (like Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea), is known to be home to… well, a lot of giant rodents. It’s just that they’re hard to discover, and may go extinct before scientists can find them all due to their disappearing habitats. On the Solomon Islands, for example, logging companies have cut down 90 percent of the trees. And that’s without taking into consideration the natural predators or competition from invasive rat species.

So, I guess what I’m saying is, that we’re lucky to have found the Vangunu giant rat at all. After all, not all giant rodents are bad news. Looking at you, capybara!




Tori Preston is deputy editor of Pajiba. She rarely tweets here but she promises she reads all the submissions for the "Ask Pajiba (Almost) Anything" column at [email protected].

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