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(Photo Source: Museum Victoria)

Hog-Nosed Rat: A New Species of Rodent Found in Indonesia

A new species of rat with a pig-like nose was just discovered in Indonesia, according to a statement from Australia’s Museum Victoria.  Detailed in the Journal of Mammalogy, the never-before-documented mammal was found in a remote mountainous area on the island of Sulawesi in central Indonesia.

The species, called hog-nosed rat or “Hyorhinomys stuempkei”, are the same size as most other types of rats, however they bear a couple of unique features that sets them apart.  Their face is longer, their ears are larger, their nose is large and (of course) pig-like, and their mouth is small – which suggests very little chewing capability.  This indicates that the hog-nosed rats mainly consume inverebrates like earthworms and beetle larva

“To Australians, Hyorhinomys, is a bit like a rat version of a bandicoot, with long hind limbs, huge ears and a long, pointed face perfect for slurping up invertebrate prey,” said Dr Kevin Rowe, a researcher from Museum Victoria.

A team of scientists from Australia, Indonesia, and the United States, underwent a six-week long journey to get to the remote mountainous forest of Mount Dako on Sulawesi island to catch some of the rats for study.  The region of Sulawesi is well-known for housing rodents that have not been seen anywhere else, says Rowe.

“It remains an enigmatic place for mammals.” he said.  “I am still amazed that we can walk into a forest and find a new species of mammal that is so obviously different from any species[…] that has ever been documented by science”

Not much is known about the hog-nosed rats, Rowe added, but the newly found specimens have been preserved and taken to a museum in Indonesia where they can be examined.

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