Parotomys littledalei, Thomas, 1918

Don E. Wilson, Russell A. Mittermeier & Thomas E. Lacher, Jr, 2017, Muridae, Handbook of the Mammals of the World – Volume 7 Rodents II, Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, pp. 536-884 : 748

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Parotomys littledalei


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Littledale’s Whistling Rat

Parotomys littledalei View in CoL

French: Otomys de Littledale / German: Littledale-Pfeifratte / Spanish: Rata silbadora de Littledale

Taxonomy. Parotomys (Liotomys) lttledaler Thomas, 1918 ,

“Tuin, Kenhardt,”

Northern Cape Province, South Africa.

This species is monotypic.

Distribution. W Namibia along narrow coastal strip of desert including parts of Namib Desert Sto driest areas of NW South Africa. View Figure

Descriptive notes. Head-body 124-170 mm, tail 82-112 mm, ear 17-25 mm, hindfoot 26-34 mm; weight 97-110 g. Littledale’s Whistling Rat is medium to large in size and robust, with large blunt head, short tail, and shaggy fur. Fur is soft and dense, cinnamon-buff above and pale buff below and on flanks. Head has blunt muzzle, same color as back and without russet-colored forehead and nasal region. Ears are large, rounded, and dark, with short yellowish hair. Limbs are short, digits are long with long slender claws; forefeet have four digits (first digit highly reduced), and hindfeet have five digits. Tail is short (c.70% of head-body length), dark buff above and paler below: tip can be black. Females have four pairs of nipples. Upper and lower incisors do not have grooves. M, has three laminae, and M? has three laminae. Diploid number is 2n = 50.

Habitat. Coastal hummocks, sand dunes, gravel plains, and dry river beds in arid environments. Littledale’s Whistling Rats have physiological adaptations (e.g. relatively large kidneys and long intestines) to conserving water in their arid habitats.

Food and Feeding. Littledale’s Whistling Rat eats a variety of fresh plant material such as non-succulent and succulent perennials, annuals, and grasses.

Breeding. Timing of reproduction is related to rainfall, occurring during summer rainy season in Namibia and just after winter rains in Namaqualand. Gestation is 41 days. Litters had 2-3 young in captivity, and embryo numbers were 1-3 in Namibia .

Activity patterns. Littledale’s Whistling Rat is diurnal and terrestrial.

Movements, Home range and Social organization. Littledale’s Whistling Rats make burrows under bushes, covering an average of4-7 m?, with an average of eight entrances and several nest chambersfilled with shredded vegetation. Burrows are separated by surface runways. Small bushes have burrows occupiedby single individuals, and larger bush have burrows with several individuals.

Status and Conservation. Classified as Least Concern on The IUCN Red List.

Bibliography. Coetzee & Jackson (1999), Happold (2013a), Jackson (2000a, 2000b), Jackson et al. (2004), Meester (1988), Monadjem et al. (2015), Pillay (2002), le Roux et al. (2002).














Parotomys littledalei

Don E. Wilson, Russell A. Mittermeier & Thomas E. Lacher, Jr 2017

Parotomys (Liotomys) lttledaler

Thomas 1918
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