Rattus argentiventer is a medium-sized rat with grizzed yellow-brown and black pelage that is not spiny when stroked. Its belly is grayish in the midline with whiter flanks. The dorsal sufaces of its hind feet are about the same color as its back and often have a dark spot or line. The tail is uniformly medium brown. Rattus argentiventer is 304-400mm long with a tail length of 140-200mm and a skull length of 37-41mm. (Van Peenen 1969)
Catalog Number: USNM 277675
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): A. Gordon
Year Collected: 1945
Locality: Progreso, 1 mi SW, Mindoro, Mindoro Occidental Province, Philippines, Asia
Microhabitat: Coastal plain grassland
Elevation (m): 6
- Type: Kellogg, R. 1945 Sep 20. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 58: 121.
Habitat and Ecology
Rice field rats primarily reside in cultivated areas such as rice paddies and grasslands. It is largely dependent on human rice fields and plantations. Rice field rats shelter in burrows in soil, under rocks, and in logs. They make nests from hollowed-out heaps of material, often in a burrow. (Nowak 1991, Barnett 1975)
Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland
Life History and Behavior
Rattus argentiventer is polyestrous with a 4 to 5 day estrus and a continuous breeding season. Gestation lasts 3 weeks, with 3 to 8 young per litter and 1 to 12 litters a year. Rice field rats have 12 mammae. Female rats build a nest 3 to 5 days before parturition in which the young are born. They are born naked and blind but fully furred. After 15 days, their eyes open. Weaning occurs and the young leave the nest after 3 weeks. Young Rattus argentiventer reach sexual maturity at 3 months. All young experience maternal care and are reared with their litter mates. The male rat plays little part in the care of the young. (Ansell 1960, Nowak 1991, Hamilton 1939)
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Rattus argentiventer
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Rattus argentiventer has no special conservation status.
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
The Rice-field Rat is a medium-sized rat with a grizzed yellow-brown and black pelage. Its belly is gray in the midline with whiter flanks. The tail is uniformly medium brown. They have chisel-like incisor. The Rice-field Rat is between 304–400 mm long with a tail length of 140–200 mm and a skull length of 37–41 mm. The average weight of Rattus argentiventer is around 97 to 219 g. Female have 12 mammae. Young have an orange-colored tuft in front of each ear.
Rice-field rat lives in large groups which consist of a dominant male and high ranking female. When attacked or disturbed they will make squeals and whistles sound. Rattus argentiventer's main diet includes termites, insects, grasshopper, snails, seeds, nuts, rice, vegetables, and fruits. They feed at night and actively moving at dusk and dawn. During daytime, they can be seen among vegetation, weeds or maturing field. Rice-field rat undergoes 3 week gestation giving birth about 5 to 10 young per litters.
Rice-field Rats primarily reside in cultivated areas such as rice paddies and grasslands. It is largely dependent on human rice fields and plantations. Rice field rats shelter in burrows in soil, under rocks, and in logs.
Ricefield Rat can be found throughout Southeast Asia consists of Indochina region, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippine, and New Guinea as major rodent pest in rice field area.
Although not a part of staple human diet in Cambodia, a growing market has developed there with most exports going to Vietnam. Rat-catching season reaches its height after the rice harvest in June and July when rats have little to eat. That lack of food coincides with seasonal rains that force the rodents onto higher ground, where traps are set up to catch them.
Parasites of Rice-field Rat include:
- Ruedas, L., Aplin, K. & Lunde, D. (2008). Rattus argentiventer. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved January 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern
- Inder Singh, K.; Krishnasamy, M.; Ambu, S.; Rasul, R.; Chong, N. L. (1997). "Studies on animal schistosomes in Peninsular Malaysia: Record of naturally infected animals and additional hosts of Schistosoma spindale". The Southeast Asian journal of tropical medicine and public health 28 (2): 303–307. PMID 9444010.
- Junaidi, P.; F.M.Charlesl; & P.Karen. (1985). A Field Guide To The Mammals Of Borneo. The Sabah Society.