Thryonomyidae – Cane rats

The family of cane rats -large wild rodents that have been recently domesticated in Africa for meat production

The larger cane rat and the lesser cane rat are the fascinating members of this rodent family commonly encountered in fields and farms across their native habitats. Renowned for their athleticism and adaptability, these rodents exhibit remarkable agility and speed, both on land and in the water, making them adept navigators of diverse environments.

In terms of diet, Cane rats prefer elephant grass shoots, particularly when they are fresh and tender. These nutritious plants serve as a staple food source for these rodents, providing essential nutrients to sustain their energetic lifestyles. However, Thryonomyidae are not limited to a herbivorous diet; they also consume a variety of other plant materials, including leaves, stems, and roots, as well as occasional insect prey, reflecting their opportunistic feeding behavior and ability to exploit a wide range of food resources within their environment.

While primarily nocturnal in their activity patterns, Cane rats may also be observed during the day on rare occasions, particularly in response to environmental stimuli or resource availability. Their diurnal behavior is often associated with foraging activities or social interactions, providing valuable opportunities for observation and study of their natural behaviors.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Cane rats’ behavior is their social structure and dominance dynamics within their populations. When two individuals compete for dominance within a group, they may engage in elaborate displays of aggression, including pushing duels and physical confrontations. These contests often involve individuals spinning on their hind legs and forcefully slamming into one another with their robust bodies, with the dominant individual asserting their authority and establishing hierarchy within the group.

In addition to their terrestrial prowess, Thryonomyidae are also proficient swimmers, capable of navigating through water bodies with ease and efficiency. Their ability to swim enables them to access aquatic habitats for foraging purposes and escape from predators, further enhancing their survival in diverse environments.