The Dinagat cloud rat, has been found once again on Dinagat island in the Phillipines. The endemic rat species which lives only on Dinagat, was believed to be extinct but a Czech couple who was honeymooning there videotaped a live one. Zoologist Milada Rehakova and her computer programmer husband combined their honeymoon with a ten day research project on the island and observed the cloud rat in a forested area.
“My husband, programmer Vaclav Rehak, saw a big hairy rat creeping through the vegetation slowly at the beginning of 2012. A week later, we took the first photographs and video recordings [of the rodent] in the wild,” said Milada Rehakova-Petru. (Source: MongaBay)
Most people would not consider rat research to be a great way to experience a tropical honeymoon, but thankfully some do. Rehakova and her husband were able to make the first sound recordings of the very rare rodent, and capture still and video images. The last official sighting of one was in 1975. Adult dinagat rats can measure up to nearly 22 inches long and most of the length is in the tail.
Though it is very good news the dinagat cloud rat is not extinct, it is critically endangered and only lives in a small habitat of less than 100 square kilometers. This very small habitat is already threatened by chromite and nickel mining activities. Additionally logging is taking place on the island.
Image Credit: Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation