29 January 2018

Rock Rats

The Namaqua Rock Rat was one of the most frequently camera trapped rodents at Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve.

Namaqua Rock Rat (Namakwa-Klipmuis  - Micaelamys namaquensis) at Paarl Mountain

Based on my data, these rodents are mostly nocturnal. However, they show a very strong preference for the twilight hours, more so than any of the other rodent species camera trapped on the reserve. I might go as far as to say they have crepuscular tendencies...

Mother and youngster during early morning twilight

Interestingly two thirds of all observations were during times when the moon was more than 50% full. The exact opposite is true of the Large-Spotted Genet, which is a nocturnal predator and always on the lookout for rodents... I wonder, is this difference due to the genet having to work harder to find the rock rats during the dark nights, or are the rock rats more vulnerable to predation on dark nights and thus don't move around as much?

Showing off his bad ass notched ear

I also noticed more individuals with notched ears than I'm used to seeing in other rodent species. I'm not sure what the cause is, but I'm guessing it is related to living in between the rock crevices. Or maybe it is simply part of their hidden rock and roll lifestyle.