Giant jumping rat bred in Chester Zoo in boost for endangered species

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Chester Standard)

Night vision cameras at Chester Zoo have captured footage of a new arrival - a giant jumping rat.

The youngster, whose sex is still unknown, was born in July to mum Rokoto but has only recently started to venture from its nest.

The large, nocturnal rodent is said to be threatened with extinction in the near future and it is the first time the zoo has bred the species.

Native to the island of Madagascar, the rat can grow to the size of a small dog and shares traits similar to those of a kangaroo. It only jumps on rare occasions, however, but has the ability to leap almost one metre into the air.

Their numbers are being reduced because of habitat loss, introduced disease and predation by feral dogs, said the zoo.

As well as being part of a carefully managed breeding programme aimed at establishing a healthy safety-net population of the endangered rats in Europe, Chester Zoo is also actively working in Madagascar to help protect the forests where the animals live.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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