Feeds

Explorers unearth cat-sized rat

Papua New Guinea volcano-dwelling beast

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A BBC camera crew backed by biologists has identified a new species of giant rat. The massive rodent has been discovered living exclusively inside the crater of an extinct Papua New Guinea volcano.

The team first spotted the beast on footage from an infrared camera trap inside the crater of Mount Bosavi, in the country's southern highlands. Kasua tribe trackers accompanying the explorers then managed to capture a live specimen.

Cameraman Gordon Buchanan noted: "I had a cat and it was about the same size as this rat."

Team member Dr Kristofer Helgen, a mammalogist from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, said: "This is one of the world's largest rats. It is a true rat, the same kind you find in the city sewers."

The example in question was an 82cm-long individual, weighing in at 1.5kg. It was captured at an altitude of over 1,000m and sports "a silver-brown coat of thick long fur" to help it survive the cold.

The giant rat from the Foja Mountains. Pic: Bruce Beehler / Conservation InternationalInitial investigation suggests the new "giant woolly rat" belongs to the genus Mallomys. A 2007 Conservation International excursion to New Guinea identified "another closely related giant woolly rat (pictured), which can weigh up to 1.4kg", albeit in the Foja Mountains in the north of the Indonesian half of the island.

Neither CI's monster nor the latest discovery have been formally named, although the latter has provisionally been dubbed the "Bosavi Woolly Rat". The other members of the genus Mallomys native to New Guinea are the Alpine Woolly Rat (Mallomys gunung), De Vis's Woolly Rat (Mallomys aroaensis), Rothschild's Woolly Rat (Mallomys rothschildi) and the Subalpine Woolly Rat (Mallomys istapantap).

The Bosavi Woolly Rat will make its TV debut on 22 September, as part of the The Lost Land of the Volcano series, which kicks off on BBC One tomorrow at 21:00 BST. The BBC has further details on the find, plus footage of the Bosavi Woolly Rat, right here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS
Crumb? Pixel? ALIEN? Better, it's a comet-catcher!
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.