First discovered in 1987, the Panay bushy-tailed cloud rat is a large, squirrel-like rodent with long, grizzled greyish-brown fur and a long, bushy tail (2)(3)(4). The second largest of the four known Crateromys species, which are all endemic to the Philippines, this species measures just over two feet from its nose to the tip of its tail (2).
Cloud rats are arboreal, nocturnal animals that usually spend most of the day sleeping in holes of large trees (1)(6). Their diet typically consists of tender young leaves, bananas, guavas and young corns (1)(6). One captive specimen of this species lived for almost nine years, but the maximum potential lifespan is unknown (7).
Like other cloud rats, the Panay bushy-tailed cloud rat is threatened primarily by wide-scale deforestation and habitat destruction (1)(6). Additionally, cloud rats are hunted for their meat and to be kept as pets (6).
Cloud rats are among the wildlife species protected by the Haribon Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources, an organisation dedicated to the conservation of Philippine biodiversity with links to a number of conservation groups nationally and internationally (6)(8). The Panay bushy-tailed cloud rat has been bred in captivity, including the UK’s London Zoo, the first institution outside of the Philippines to successfully breed the rat. The aim is to establish a viable captive population outside of the Philippines as an ‘insurance population’ (4). Captive populations also provide important opportunities to study the behaviour and biology of this species, which can in turn feed into creating more appropriate conservation measures in the future to protect the wild Panay bushy-tailed cloud rat.
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