Giant tree-dwelling rat, a foot and a half long, discovered in Solomon Islands

(USA TODAY) — A new species of rat, measuring a foot and a half long and weighing more than 2 pounds, was recently discovered in the Solomon Islands.

So, Rodents of Unusual Size do exist.

Uromys vika is the first rat discovered in the islands in 80 years, The Field Museum says.

After hearing rumors that a "possum-like" rat in the trees cracked coconuts with its teeth, Mammalogist Tyrone Lavery led a search for the rodent. After years spent looking, Lavery's team found the rat running out of a fallen tree.

“As soon as I examined the specimen, I knew it was something different,” Lavery said in a statement. “There are only eight known species of native rat from the Solomon Islands, and looking at the features on its skull, I could rule out a bunch of species right away.”

Most rats in America weigh less than a half a pound. The uromys vika can be four times that size.

The species was so difficult to find partly because it can live in 30-foot-tall trees.

The rat will be designated as Critically Endangered because of its rarity and the threat to its rainforest habitat. 

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