Hog-Nosed Rat Meets The World

A newly discovered rat species brings notoriety to a remote mountain area in Indonesia.

profile of hog-nosed rat
Via Museum Victoria/YouTube
The large ear, distinctive nose and long, forward-slanted lower incisors are interesting traits of the hog-nosed rat.

Being introduced to the world as hog-nosed might not be the best beginning, but being a newly discovered mammal species certainly adds cachet. An international team of scientists working on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi made the discovery, which was widely reported this week. 

The new species is a type of shrew rat and has been given the genus and species name Hyorhinomys stuempkei. Shrew rats are long-faced and carnivorous. An article published in the Journal of Mammalogy on September 29, 2015, lists some of the traits that make the hog-nosed rat unique are its nose, which has forward-facing nares; its large ears; its flat nails; its long urogenital hairs; and its long, forward-slanting lower incisors. Written out, it sounds like a bit of a mess, but looking at a photo of the rat, it all comes together quite well.

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Five of the rats were caught in traps scientists set, according to an article in The Age. The rats were found on Mount Daku in the Tolitoli regency at an elevation of about 5,249 feet, or nearly a mile high.

Wildlife Wednesday: we smell a new rat! The Hog-nosed rat (Hyorhinomys stuempkei) was discovered in a remote mountainous…

Posted by Museum Victoria on Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Authors of the Journal of Mammalogy article are Jacob A. Esselstyn, Anang S. Achmadi, Heru Handika and Kevin C. Rowe. Museum Victoria posted a video to YouTube about the discovery on October 5, 2015. 

The abstract for the article notes:
“Discovery of this new genus and species brings known shrew rat diversity on Sulawesi to 6 genera and 8 species. The extent of morphological diversity among these animals is remarkable considering the small number of species currently known.”

Sulawesi has long been known as premiere diving destination because of its coral reefs. And it’s becoming clear that it’s also an important location for discovering new mammal species.


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