African Rodent Identification


I need to either identify or confirm a few species and Jon has suggested that I post my photographs here in case any of you can help.

The first batch are all African rodents, with 1 to 5 taken in the Bale Mountains, 6 at Ol Pejeta in Kenya, 7 in the Serengeti and 8 in the Simien Mountains.

Thanks in advance for any help that any of you can provide.



Bale Mountains Ethiopia 2012 (1)

Bale Mountains Ethiopia 2012 (2)

Bale Mountains Ethiopia 2012 (3)

Bale Mountains Ethiopia 2012 (4)

Bale Mountains Ethiopia 2012 (5)

Ol Pejeta Kenya 2010

Serengeti Tanzania  2008

Simien Mountains Ethiopia 2012

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8 Comments on “African Rodent Identification”

  1. tomeslice Says:

    I can tell you that #6 is a Nutria which is not a native species and was introduced to Kenya in the 50s by release and escapees, and #7 is the African Grass Rat (Arvicanthis niloticus) which is very common in the Serengeti.


  2. Scary Israel Says:

    the only one I know for sure is #6, which is a nutria (coypu). But the first lot from the Bale Mountains I would guess as being Blick’s grass rats (Arvicanthis blicki) unless anyone says different.

  3. Jon Hall Says:

    I’ll agree with the other IDs… I’d no idea that there were Nutria in Kenya – good to know (well bad to know, but good to find out). It certainly looks like one to me. I’d put the first few down as A blickii too and the penultimate as a Grass Rat. The last one might be Arvacanthis abyssinicus or Otomys typus… but I wouldn’t swear to it.

  4. jasonwoolgar Says:

    Many thanks for all your help. It does look like a Coypu, but I was not aware that there were feral populations in Kenya and overlooked it. I will have to dig a bit further re the Ethiopian species, as I think that we are looking at two different species within the first five pictures. Thanks again in any case, much appreciated.

  5. PandaSmith Says:

    I am no Ethiopian rodent expert but you may find some helpful info on the Bale Mtns images in this blog post. I ran them by some of my contacts last fall and didn’t hear any corrections so it may be helpful to take a look. Good luck!

  6. vdinets Says:

    I would vote for A. abyssinicus for the last one. It looks like there is a black dorsal stripe beginning between the ears; also, Otomys is more brown-orangish.

  7. jasonwoolgar Says:

    Thanks for these. I have a couple of dozen pictures of various rodents at Bale and Simien but I cannot really tell them apart and will probably have to find someone with some expertise in these areas. It is likely that I have photographed both species, but I only posted a few samples.

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