Rat ID, southern Thailand (slightly gruesome pics)

Hi all

I’m after thoughts on this splatted rat from near Khao Lak. Based on size and other features I identified it as Greater Bandicoot Rat (Bandicota indica) in the field (before it’s unfortunate encounter with a car!). Only after the event did I realise it’s well out of range for that species, but not far from where Lesser (B. bengalensis) occurs as non-native. I reckon it would be at the upper end of the size range for that species (the shoe in shot is 32.5cm long), but there were a couple of less massive individuals seen as well. Is Lesser Bandicoot Rat a fair ID? The animals were commuting between fields/scrub and a rubber plantation (so the habitat sounds right), and were clearly bigger and shorter tailed than the unidentified Rattus (either Pacific of Malaysian Wood Rats) present in the same area




  • paul carter

    Hi Mike
    Check Fig 9 in this reference. It shows a greater distribution of B indica than shown in the Francis book. “Murine rodents (Rodentia: Murinae) of the Myanmar-Thai-Malaysian peninsula and Singapore: taxonomy, distribution, ecology, conservation status, and illustrated identification keys” by Uraiporn Pimsai et al. It is a useful ref. Having said that I am still not sure what it is as most of the options here are supposed to have dark tails and this one looks very pale. Maybe zooming into the footpads might help. Bandicota savilei also might occur in the area but far less records (Fig 10) but it does have a paler tail.
    Cheers, Paul

    • mikehoit

      Thanks very much for that Paul – that paper looks like it could be handy! The more I look at this, the less certain I am; I should have know trying to identify a rodent from dodgy photos wouldn’t be straightforward. I’ll see if I can do anything with the shape of the feet.


      • paul carter

        Hi Mike. Looking at your pics again you could work out the HB as equiv to your shoe in the pic up to the flesh of the ankle. Around 20-22cm? I can see claws in the pic but not well. Lesser B supposed to have long narrow claws. Ricefield Rat is same size as Lesser B rat and likely there as well. You mentioned some other rats seen. If you send me the co-ords or locality I could check the area the next time I am there and look for them and/or more roadkill!

        • mikehoit

          I did have a quick look at Ricefield Rat in the fieldguide but felt that this was too large and shaggy (due to the long guard hairs). I should really know to get better pics of rodents by now! The location was 8.686040,98.256588. Animals were seen in the 75m before the road bends right and the track to Khaolak Yama resort forks off, with a couple of Rattus sp a bit further on.

  • Jon Hall

    It looks pretty good for Lesser Bandicoot Rat to me. That really shaggy fur (long guard hairs) seems quite distinctive as does the pale tail. Very different to those two rattus species you mention though I don’t know offhand what other large rats are also in the area.

    • mikehoit

      Thanks Jon. Having not seen either species, I didn’t expect Lesser Bandicoot to look so big – it certainly looked more like the illustrations of Greater in the SE Asian field guide, but I’ve found a few of those to be a bit misleading… Greaters must be absolute monsters!

  • Vladimir Dinets

    I concur with Jon. I heard a story of a greater bandicoot rat killing a pet potbelly pig. Not sure if it’s true.

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