Skip to Content

African ice rat

Find, identify and discuss the animals of all the SANParks
User avatar
Johan van Rensburg
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Award: Birder of the Year (2014)
Posts: 2621
Awards: Birder of the Year (2014) & Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Location: Jam Street

African ice rat

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:29 am

I found this hamster-sized rodent at the top of the Sani Pass during a birding trip.

Image

The African ice rat is a diurnal, herbivorous rodent, endemic to the alpine habitats of our southern Drakensberg and Maluti Mountains at altitude exceeding 2000m. These environments are characterized by sub-zero temperatures in winter and high levels of solar radiation in summer.

Ice rats live in colonies contain up to 17 individuals. They bask in the sun during cold winter days when snow is on the ground. During periods of extremely cold weather, they do not emerge from their burrows, foregoing basking and foraging. Intricate interlinking underground tunnel systems with sometimes more than 25 entrance holes and 1-2 nesting chambers, located about 300mm beneath the surface, provide a warm refuge for the ice rats at night as well as during adverse weather conditions.

Ice rats are specialised herbivores, feeding mainly on the floral parts, leaves and stems of grasses and herbaceous plants, obtaining all its moisture requirements from the food it consumes.
671 Latest lifer: Black coucal

User avatar
billyf
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 3275
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 4:30 pm
Location: Helderberg

Re: African ice rat

Unread postby billyf » Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:34 am

Interesting sighting Johan !! Never known about these rodents :thumbs_up:
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away

o-dog
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 544
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Location: Okavango

Re: African ice rat

Unread postby o-dog » Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:31 am

Great stuff :thumbs_up:
Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec

User avatar
Meandering Mouse
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
FAC Member (2013)
Posts: 16649
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:47 pm
Location: meandering between senility and menopause

Re: African ice rat

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:33 am

Now that is a cute little critter :D
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.

User avatar
Crested Val
Forum Assistant
Forum Assistant
Posts: 8573
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:49 am
Location: Brecon Beacons National Park

Re: African ice rat

Unread postby Crested Val » Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:37 am

I've never even heard of these little rodents.............thanks Johan. :thumbs_up:

I'll look out for him next time we're there. :dance:
Thinking of my beloved South Africa every day.

Virtual Potjie Competition for VHR Far School's Project

User avatar
Grantmissy
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
FAC Member (2013)
Posts: 7878
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:21 am
Location: SA

Re: African ice rat

Unread postby Grantmissy » Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:13 pm

Very interesting, thank you Johan :thumbs_up: The pic of the Littledale’s Whistling Rat is equally good :)
“Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got.”

User avatar
Rooies
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2956
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 3:44 pm
Location: Welkom

Re: African ice rat

Unread postby Rooies » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:02 pm

Thanks Johan. I was surprised and it goes to show how little we know about critters other than the big 5.
Give thanks for unknown blessings already on its way---African saying
Member nr 8512
Cheetah supporterPURIST and proud thereof

User avatar
Imberbe
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 14503
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:28 am
Location: Pretoria, RSA

Re: African ice rat

Unread postby Imberbe » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:43 pm

:thumbs_up: Beautiful little creature!
Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

Want to know more about the SANParks Honorary Rangers? Visit www.sanparksvolunteers.org


One positive deed is worth more than a thousand critical words.

User avatar
Johan van Rensburg
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Award: Birder of the Year (2014)
Posts: 2621
Awards: Birder of the Year (2014) & Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Location: Jam Street

Re: African ice rat

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:33 am

I see this rat is better known as Sloggett's Rat, Otomys sloggetti.
671 Latest lifer: Black coucal

User avatar
giraffee
Posts: 150
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 4:44 pm
Location: Pretoria South Africa

Re: African ice rat

Unread postby giraffee » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:00 pm

Thanksfor the info and pic Johan. We once saw one at Tiffendell when we did a quick stop over.
He basked in the sun right next to my SO and would disappeared down a pipe when somebody walked by. What an absolute cutie pie. He looked so clean and cuddly, I wanted him not to be an ordinary everyday rat.
Of all the things I'd been skeptical about, I didn't feel skeptical about this: the wilderness had a clarity that included me. ~Cheryl Strayed


Return to “Mammals”