IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

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Link rat (Deomys ferrugineus)

The link rat is 12-14.5 cm long with a 15-21 cm long tail. It weighs 40-70 g. It has long legs and a pointed, narrow head, surmounted by enormous ears. It was a very long, bicoloured tail. The back and forehead are rich orange and brown and the underside is white. The rump hairs are stiff.

The rat largely has a scattered distribution in the Congo Basin of Central Africa, north of the Zaire River. It ranges from Cameroon east through the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea (Rio Muni and Bioko), Central African Republic, to Rwanda and the the Victoria Nile of Uganda. It occurs from sea level up to 1,600 m above sea level. It occurs in seasonally flooded forest floors in lowland swampy and riverine habitats and forages in streams in lowland and montane tropical forest. It is terrestrial.

The rat is nocturnal and crepuscular. It mainly feeds on insects, crustaceans, slugs and other invertebrates, with occasional vegetable matter (2), such as fallen fruits, notably palm-nut husks. It is rated Least Concern, due to its very wide distribution including several protected areas. It is locally common and the population is not believed to be in decline, although it is seldom common. There are no major threats to this species.

The link rat has traditionally been placed with African climbing mice as a member of the subfamily Dendromurinae. Molecular data show it to be more closely related to the spiny mice. A new subfamily (Deomyinae) has been created, which contains Acomys, Deomys, Lophuromys and Uranomys (1).


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