Giant Tree-Dwelling, Coconut-Eating Rat Species Discovered

If you’re looking for a new species of rat, don’t search in the sewer. Get out your chainsaw! Mammalogist Tyrone Lavery from the Chicago Field Museum has been searching for the Vangunu Giant Rat since 2010. Lavery had a stroke of luck when loggers cut down a 30 foot tree. One of the 2 pound rodent came crashing down with the tree. The Vangunu rat is about 4 times the size of the average american city rat.

If not for Lavery’s persistence and the serendipitous sighting, the Vangunu rat might have vanished before it had ever been described scientifically. Now Lavery has shifted his species quest to the nearby island of Malaita, where locals tell him of a type of bat they call the monkey-faced bat. “It’s possible it might have already become extinct,” he says. But he’s looking for it anyway.