Piglet rats

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Piglet rats
Jamaica piglet rat

Jamaica piglet rat

Subordination : Porcupine relatives (Hystricomorpha)
Partial order : Hystricognathi
without rank: Guinea Pig Relatives (Caviomorpha)
Family : Quill rats (Echimyidae)
Subfamily : Tree rats (Capromyinae)
Genre : Piglet rats
Scientific name
Chapman , 1901

The piglet rats ( Geocapromys ), also called stubby-tailed Hutias , are a genus of rodents from the subfamily of the tree rats (Capromyinae). Of the five species that were once found on the Caribbean islands , only two now live in Jamaica and the Bahamas .


Piglet rats are outwardly rat-like animals that, like all tree rats, are characterized by their comparatively massive head. The color of the short, dense fur varies from yellow-gray to brown to almost black, with the underside always being lighter. The short tail is barely hairy, the ears are small and rounded. Piglet rats reach a head body length of 33 to 45 centimeters, a tail length of 3 to 6 centimeters and a weight of 1 to 2 kilograms.

Way of life

Piglet rats are only active at night. During the day they rest in crevices or earthworks. At night they go in search of food, where they can climb well and climb rocks or trees. They live solitary, but show little aggressiveness towards other species. The diet of these animals consists of bark, twigs and leaves.

Once or twice a year, the female gives birth to one to three young animals after a gestation period of around 120 days. They are decidedly fleeing nests and start eating solid food just a few days after birth.

The species

  • The Jamaican piglet rat ( Geocapromys brownii ) is endemic to Jamaica . The populations have declined in the 20th century due to the destruction of the habitat, the IUCN lists the species as endangered (vulnerable).
  • The Bahamian piglet rat ( Geocapromys ingrahami ) was presumably widespread throughout the Bahamas in the past , but now only lives on the island of East Plana Cay. The population is estimated at 6000 to 12000 animals, this species is also considered endangered ( vulnerable ).
  • The Swan Island Piglet Rat ( Geocapromys thoracatus ) lived on the Swan Islands , a group of islands in the Caribbean that belong to Honduras . Presumably the animals are descended from other piglet rats that were brought to the islands by the Indians 5000 to 7000 years ago. They were common until the 20th century, but a hurricane and the stalking of domestic cats brought in caused the species to become extinct in the mid-20th century.
  • Geocapromys columbianus and Geocapromys pleistocenicus lived in Cuba and are also extinct, for which human hunting is likely to be responsible. While G. columbianus probably survived until after the Europeans arrived in Cuba, G. pleistocenicus probably became extinct before then.


  • Ronald M. Nowak: Walker's Mammals of the World. 2 volumes. 6th edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore MD et al. 1999, ISBN 0-8018-5789-9 .

Web links

Commons : Piglet Rats ( Geocapromys )  - Collection of images, videos and audio files