New York City rats may be known for their pizza-toting abilities, but a recently-discovered Indonesian rat is known for…..its extra long pubic hair. Called the hog-nosed shrew rat, the furry rodent has a pig nose, big flappy ears, a thick body, and, you guessed it, hair flowing from its nether regions. Found by international researchers in a trap on Mount Dako on the remote Sulawesi Island, the pig-faced rat’s whisker-like pubic hair is thought to aid in the reproductive process.
Known in science circles as Hyorhinomys stuempkei, the Indonesian rat was unknown to the scientific community until 2013. An international team including scientists from Museum Victoria, Louisiana State University and Zoologicum Bogoriense came across the unique creature when studying animal life on the remote islands of Indonesia. The furry rat was caught by a live trap, studied, and then returned to its natural habitat.
Long, whisker-like pubic hair in both the female and male hog-nosed shrew rat isn’t its only odd characteristic. Like an Australian bandicoot, the critter has long back legs, and its face, complete with snout, also features an extraordinarily tiny mouth, which opens just enough to slurp up worms and other invertebrates.
Sulawesi Island’s remoteness makes it a likely location for discovering new species. The scientists plan to explore the island’s 10 mountains in hopes of making yet more curious discoveries.
Images © Museum Victoria