Viscacha rat

Octomys mimax

TAXONOMY

Octomys mimax Thomas, 1920, La Puntilla, Catamarca Province, Argentina.

OTHER COMMON NAMES Spanish: Rata cola peluda.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Head and body length 5.5-6.7 in (140-170 mm); tail 5.9-7 in (151-180 mm); 4.2-5 oz (121-144 g). Dorsal pelage pale, under parts white, and a tufted tail that is partially bi-colored. Large auditory bullae.

DISTRIBUTION

Argentina in parts of the Monte desert in Catamarca and several provinces including San Juan, La Rioja, and Mendoza.

HABITAT

Higher altitudes along the slopes of the Andes in desert scrub habitat. Ecologically converges on the North American wood rat genus Neotoma.

BEHAVIOR

Burrows under rocks and is nocturnal. Appears to be solitary. FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Herbivorous feeding on a variety of plant materials, including seeds and cacti.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Produce several litters per year.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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