Cane rats are predominantly nocturnal in the wild and travel through trails in the reeds and grass. They appear to live in small groups of up to 12 animals. In captivity, greater cane rats exist as family groups of one male and from one to seven females. The dominant male will not tolerate the presence of another mature male. The same behavior is anticipated in the wild where a family group will consist of a dominant male, few females, and their offspring. When alarmed, they stamp their hind feet on the ground, making a booming sound. They also make a loud whistling sound, as a stress or warning sound. When relaxed and eating, they make soft grunting noises. In the reed beds or grass runs, waste products of feeding and scattered piles of feces can be found. Although they have well-developed claws, they do not appear to burrow. Where there appears to be a lack of cover, they make use of existing holes, dug by other animals or caused by water erosion alongside river banks.

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