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Littledale's Whistling Rat

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Johan van Rensburg
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Littledale's Whistling Rat

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:13 am

I found this whistling rat just south of Lambert’s Bay during a birding trip, this seemingly being the most southern extent of its distribution. One can expect to find them in the Tankwa Karoo NP, Namaqua NP and Ai-Ais/Richtersveld TFNP.

Image

Very little information is available on these critters. What follws is what I could find...

Littledale's Whistling Rat, Parotomys littledalei, is a diurnal, herbivorous rodent, endemic to South Africa and Namibia with a fragmented distribution from western South Africa northwards through extreme, northern Namibia, occurring in shrubland established on sandy soil.

Littledale's whistling rats are often found foraging alone, feeding on seed, flowers and leaves of succulents, obtaining all its moisture requirements from the food it consumes.

They are said to be prolific breeders, having up to four litters a year, each with 1 – 3 pups.
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Re: Littledale's Whistling Rat

Unread postby o-dog » Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:32 am

Thanx for the interesting post...a great pic as well! :thumbs_up:
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Re: Littledale's Whistling Rat

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:47 am

What a beautiful little creature.

Thanks Johan :thumbs_up:
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Re: Littledale's Whistling Rat

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:26 am

We have two whistling rats in our region. The other one is the Brants's whistling rat that one gets to see much more often especially when visiting the Kgalagadi TFNP where Littledale's WR does not occur and therefor no confusion exists as the WRs seen here are all Brants's. According to the experts the only sure way to distinguish between the two where they overlap is to have a look at the upper incisors of the animals: those of Littledale's are groved while the incisors of Brants's are not.

:roll:

Rather a difficult call, I think. "Smile, bro! I need to see your teeth!" Hmmm...

After studying some shots of both animals, I suggest the following ID feature: the ears of the LWR tend to be less furred (near naked) on the inside of the ear shell than those of Brants's. It may be my imagination, but the setting and shape of the ears also looks different!?

I just though I'll share these perceptions...

Image
Pic of a Kgalagadi Brants's WR with kind permission of Callie de Wet

Compare the two pics and you'll see what I mean...

Two other published features are:

1. The length of tail: Brants's is shorter
2. Colour: Littledale's is darker
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Re: Littledale's Whistling Rat

Unread postby Grantmissy » Thu May 23, 2013 10:04 am

Great photo Johan it looks like the little rat has a flute in his paws :) .
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Re: Littledale's Whistling Rat

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Sat May 25, 2013 7:18 am

How can anyone think of rats as nasty creatures :hmz: . Now that is very cute.... cute enough to eat :wink:
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.


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