Southern bamboo rat

Kannabateomys amblyonyx




Dactylomys amblyonyx (Wagner, 1845), Sao Paulo, Brazil. OTHER COMMON NAMES

German: Bambus-Fingerratte; Spanish: Rata de las Taquaras (Argentina).


An individual Kannbaetomys amblyonyx weighs up to 1.3 lb (600 g), and its back, flanks, and head are a dull orangey-buff, while its under parts are off-white. Fur is thick and soft, lacking bristles, and the tail is thickly haired. The third and fourth digits are greatly elongated and expanded to provide a wide, strong grip when climbing thick round bamboo stems. Claws are modified into nails. The muzzle is squarish.


Southeastern Brazil (Cerea, Rio Grande, Parana, and Rio Grande do Sul), northeastern Argentina (Missones Province), and southeastern Paraguay.


Bamboo thickets along stream banks. BEHAVIOR

Kannbaetomys amblyonyx is nocturnal, solitary, slow moving, and highly territorial. The species makes loud territorial calls, defending its patch of bamboo. Individuals are found outside bamboo stands only when moving from one patch to another (every few years, plants in a bamboo stand will flower simultaneously and then die). If found on the ground in their territory, they are avoiding troops of foraging capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella), which may harass them and even kill them. There is no overlap in territories of individuals. The home range size varies from 1,780 to 11,820 ft2 (165-1,098 m2). Radio-collared individuals traveled an average of 843 ft (257 m) a night. In native Guada bamboo, K. amblyonyx is reported to make large, complex nests. In stands of introduced bamboo they do not make nests, but have three to four regular resting sites in dense patches of stems and leaves. They leave and enter such areas half an hour before sunset and sunrise. The animal's slow movements and small territory size are reflective of its poor-quality food.


Climbs bamboo stems during the night to eat succulent shoots, young stems, and young leaves. Prefers the native giant bamboo Guada, but is also able to eat the introduced Phyllostachys and Bambusa tuloides.


Litter size one or two. Subadults may travel with mother for a period after weaning.



Formerly considered to be threatened by habitat destruction, but now considered to be more adaptable and capable of using alien bamboos. Is being used by conservation groups as a charismatic species to promote conservation of groves of native giant bamboo and the rich bird fauna (27 habitat specific species) associated with this habitat, and who are less adaptable than the bamboo rat. ♦

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