Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Giant Woolly Rat

Odds are, you wouldn't describe a woolly rat — or any rat, for that matter — as "insanely spectacular." But you're not Steve Backshall, one of the leaders of an expedition that ventured into the Bosavi crater in Papua New Guinea late one evening in 2010. He and his team stumbled across a new species of rat, which, unlike skittish urban rats, showed no fear at all. "It was quite happy just munching on tubers in front of us," Backshall says. The rat's rounded snout gives it a less weasely look than the typical city variety, but don't go all cuddly yet. "It was about the size of a cat," Backshall says. "Quite a good-sized cat, actually. A cat that's been feeding extremely well." The good news is that the rat seems content in its crater, so the subways are probably safe — for now.