Red-crested rodent reappears after 113 years

Illustration for article titled Red-crested rodent reappears after 113 years

After 113 years in hiding, the red crested tree rat (Santamartamys rufodorsalis) has appeared once again and posed for its first ever photographs.

The small mammal, not seen since 1898 despite several organised searches, turned up in front of two volunteers at the El Dorado Nature Reserve in northern Colombia on the morning of 4 May.

The species is distinguishable by its mane of reddish fur around its neck and its black and white tail. The greatest danger to its survival is the presence of feral cats that prey on native fauna. As a result, it's likely that the red-crested tree rat will now be designated as "Critically Endangered" under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s Red List of Threatened Species.


"The discovery marks the beginning of a major effort to save the red-crested tree rat," said Paul Salaman, director of conservation at the World Land Trust - US, who confirmed the identity of the species. "This heralds the start of a global initiative in search of lost mammal species."

This post originally appeared on New Scientist.

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Annalee Newitz

As a result, the Cuteocracy will continue its reign of fuzzy, adorable domination.