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  • The giant pouched rats (genus Cricetomys) of sub-Saharan Africa are large muroid rodents. Their head and body length ranges from 25–45 cm (9–18 in) with scaly tails ranging from 36–46 cm (14–18 in). They weigh between 1-1.5 kg. Giant pouched rats are only distantly related to the true rats, but are instead part of an ancient radiation of African and Malagasy muroids in the family Nesomyidae. They are named due to their large cheek pouches. It has been suggested that females may be capable of producing up to 10 litters yearly. Gestation is 27–36 days. One to five young are born at time. Females have eight nipples. The animals are nocturnal. They are omnivorous and feed on vegetation and invertebrates. They have a particular taste for palm nuts. They are coprophagous. They can become tame and are kept as pets. They are also an important food source in many African countries. These rats are also becoming useful in some areas for detecting land mines, as their acute sense of smell is very...
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