Mystery of rare visitor
A MOST unusual visitor turned up at Madeira Home last weekend – a cane rat.
Resident Gail Hartley found the animal dead in the driveway at the home and at first did not know what it was. It had obviously been injured, probably by dogs, and had escaped into the grounds where it died.
The Smithers Mammals of Southern Africa describes cane rats as “similar in size to rabbits, stockily built with coarse, spiny hair. The ears are rounded and almost hidden by hair. The muzzle is blunt and has a pad in front of the nostrils.” Its closest relative is the porcupine. Adult males may weigh as much as 4.5kg, but sometimes reach more than 7kg, while they can be fattened up to 9kg in captivity.
In many parts of Africa they are an important and valuable source of protein, but they are considered agricultural pests. They thrive in cereal crops and sugar cane.
Their natural habitat is generally reed beds or tall grass near water in the wetter or swampy parts of the country and they swim well.
So how did this one get to Madeira? Was it domesticated? If you have any idea where this one came from, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 045- 839 4040.
FAR FROM HOME: This cane rat was found dead in Madeira Home’s grounds, far from its natural habitat