Freakishly large new rodent species discovered in the Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands is located in the northeast corner of Australia between Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea which is an imposing corner of the globe. The nation is comprised of near one thousand islands together. Majority of the place is covered by lush green and dense rain forests. To top it all, the country’s coral reef diversity is one of the richest in the world. Solomon Islands houses many plants and animals which have been born and brought up in isolation away from the eyes of researchers, biologists, and scientists. One of these hidden animals has been recently identified by the researchers who dubbed it as the “Vika (Uromys Vika)” which is a rodent. This rat is bigger than even the most gigantic city variety rat, almost a four times bigger to be exact.
The results of this discovery have been published in the Journal of Mammalogy after being studied by the researchers at Chicago’s Field Museum and the Solomon Islands’ Zaira Resource Management Area. According to the researchers, the Vika is a sight to behold, and its body features include a scaly tail, dark brown color, with a length that goes up to a foot and a half long. An average Vika can weigh as heavy as a fully grown pineapple. Vika’s characteristic traits resemble its city-based relatives in many ways, for example, it is a good climber and likes to spend most of its time in the tall trees of the rainforest. The Vika is distinguishable from the other Uromys species found in the Solomon Islands. There is a remarkably measurable difference in skull shape and genes. As of now, the Vika is only known to have its habitat around the island it was discovered in, which is the Vangunu.
This rodent was known to the local Vangunu residents as a fat rat that devours green coconut with its rugged incisor teeth going deep inside the fruit. Although known to the locals, the Vika came into the light to the scientific community only after lead study author Tyrone Lavery heard about it from the locals back in the year 2010 and started her journey towards the discovery of this rodent. After a long tiring search, a single specimen was found scrambling out of a chopped tree. The puzzle was finally completed after the observation and collection of a physical specimen was accomplished.
The Vika is currently under study about its lifestyle and the unique way it feeds through green coconuts. The nuts of the canarium tree better known as Galip nuts have been found with round holes chewed onto them which is a good enough indication that the newfound rats are the causal factor of these holes. If the Vika has strong enough teeth to drill through the thick Galip nuts, eating coconut isn’t a farfetched idea for these rodents. Vika is the first rodent to be discovered in the Solomon Islands in 80 years which fits into a remarkable pantheon of the Solomon mammals, half of which are not found anywhere else in the world making them one of their kind.

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