A-z - Animals

10 largest mice in the world

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key point

  • There are more than 70 kinds of rodents.
  • Coryphomys were the largest rats that ever lived, but are now extinct.
  • 40% of mammals are rodents.

Rats are probably one of the most widespread rodents in the world, and can be found almost anywhere there are humans, except Antarctica, which is too cold for them. Often classified as pests, they are extremely adaptable and can live in a variety of habitats, including swamps, rainforests and fields.

Two brown mice peeking out of hiding place
True mice are members of the genus Chinchilla

© Gallinago_media/Shutterstock.com

With more than 70 species, there are definitely various sizes, with an average body size of 5 inches (not including the tail), but some can be larger and larger. But how big can they be? Here we list the top 10 largest mice in the world by size.

#10: Breeding the Rat

The first mouse on our list is the Tanezumi mouse, which is sometimes called the Asian mouse, with a body size of 8.25 inches, not including the tail. Breeding rats are mainly distributed throughout Asia and are closely related to common black rats, similar in appearance with dark brown fur. Although they are frequently found in towns, they are often associated with the destruction of banana, coconut and rice crops, their main food in agricultural areas.

#9: Red Agouti

The largest mouse ever - the red agouti
Red agouti can reach lengths of over 8 inches

©Evgeny Haritonov/Shutterstock.com

The red agouti is only slightly larger than the stock mouse, reaching a maximum size of 8.26 inches, and typically lives in forest habitats where it feeds on fruit, plants, and insects. They are widely distributed in Asia, including Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar and China. The red agouti has distinctive reddish-brown fur and a much lighter abdomen, usually white or yellowish in color. They also have "thorns" on their backs, which is where they get their name. These spines are stiff hairs that stand on end among the rest of the hair.

#8: Wood Rat

Also known as the pack mouse, this species of mouse is easily distinguished by its unusually bushy tail, which resembles that of a squirrel, unlike the hairless tail of most other mice. They can reach about 8.7 inches in length and are usually brown in color with a white belly and feet and ears that are much rounder than other mice. Although they prefer rocky areas, bush rats are extremely adaptable and can live in forests and deserts and are able to climb. They are native to the United States and can be found throughout western North America and parts of Canada.

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#7: Wallaby

The largest mouse - the kangaroo
Wallabies live in South Asia

©iStock.com/Kichigin

Despite their name, wallabies are not actually related to the marsupial bandicoot from Australia. Instead, these rodents are found throughout South Asia, including India and Sri Lanka, and can reach a length of 9.85 inches. They are known for the grunt they make when they are aggressive or excited, which has been likened to that of a pig.

Bilbies are very aggressive animals, especially when they are threatened, and in addition to grunting, they have long guard hairs on their backs that stand up to make them look even more intimidating. They live in burrows underground, often on or near agricultural fields, and they are classified as pests because they are extremely destructive to crops.

#6: Brown Mouse

brown rat portrait
brown mouse

©Heiko Kiera/Shutterstock.com

Also known as the common rat, street rat or sewer rat, the brown rat is one of the most common rodent species in the world. Native to China, they are now ubiquitous except Antarctica and are primarily classified as pests. Although they are called brown rats, they can be dark gray and up to 11 inches in size, with tails that are only slightly shorter than body length. They are often found in urban areas and will eat just about anything they find, from leftovers to small birds.

#5: Mountain Giant Sunda Rat

The mountain giant sunda rat, also known as the Sumatran giant rat, measures about 11.5 inches long, not including its tail, which can grow another 10 to 12 inches. Their natural habitat is in forests in the mountains of Indonesia and Malaysia. They are usually dark brown, but sometimes have light brown spots on them and a protective coat that acts as a coat that repels water and protects them from the sun. Like most other mice, the mountain giant rat, the Sunda rat, is omnivorous, eating insects and small birds as well as plants and fruit.

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#4: Northern Luzon Giant Cloud Rat

The largest mouse - Northern Luzon cloud mouse
The Luzon Giant Cloud Rat can grow up to 15 inches in size!

© chrisbrignell/Shutterstock.com

The Northern Luzon giant cloud mouse, endemic to Luzon, Philippines, can reach a size of 15 inches. They're particularly distinctive in appearance, and don't look like mice at all—instead, they have long fur, small ears, and bushy tails. They are usually black and white, but can also be various shades of gray and sometimes all white. What makes these mice even more different from their peers is that they spend most of their time in the upper branches of trees in the rainforest. With their large hind feet and long claws, they can climb and even give birth in tree hollows.

#3: Bosavi Woolly Rat

Deep in the jungle at the heart of Mount Bosavi, an extinct volcano in Papua New Guinea, lurks a species so new it doesn't even have an official scientific name. Inside the crater, half a mile high on either side, where wildlife is nearly trapped inside, is a species known only as the Bosavira, which was discovered in 2009 while filming a wildlife documentary. The species had never been seen until a 16-inch giant with a tail as long as it walked into the camp. The Bosavi furmouse is dark gray or occasionally brown and has thick fur that gives it a fur-like appearance. Not much is known about them, but they are thought to eat mostly plants and vegetation.

#2: Gambian Kangaroo

The largest mouse - the Gambian kangaroo
The Gambian kangaroo is the second largest rat species in the world!

© iStock.com/Farinosa

It is followed by the Gambian kangaroo, which measures 17 inches and has an unusually long tail that can grow another 18 inches. Also known as the African giant kangaroo, they are widespread across much of Africa, but were classified as an invasive species in Florida after some pets escaped and subsequently bred. Their upper body is dark brown, while the belly is gray or white, and the tail also has a white tip. They have hamster-like pouches on their cheeks, which is where they get their name. They have an excellent sense of smell, and there is an organization in Tanzania that trains them to detect landmines and tuberculosis.

#1: Sumatran Bamboo Rat

The largest mouse - the bamboo rat
The bamboo rat is the largest mouse in the world

©rweisswald/Shutterstock.com

The Sumatran bamboo rat is the largest rodent in the world, reaching a size of 20 inches. These rats have unusually short tails compared to their body length (just 8 inches), which makes them smaller nose-to-tail than Gambian kangaroos, but larger in length and weight (8.8 pounds). The Sumatran bamboo rat is mainly found in China, but it is also found in Sumatra. These giants are usually dark brown, but sometimes gray, with round heads with small ears, short legs, and bald tails.

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Sumatran bamboo rats prefer to live in burrows, rarely on the ground, and are able to eat plant roots, using their burrow system to find food. As their name suggests, they feed primarily on bamboo, but also sugar cane, and are therefore considered pests due to the damage they cause to crops.

The largest living rodent in the world: the capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris)
The largest living rodent in the world: Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris)

© Horus2017/Shutterstock.com

capybara and. mouse

Many mammals fall into the category of rodents, but are not true mice. They share the same characteristic, namely, a pair of continuously growing incisors in each of the upper and lower jaws. About 40% of mammals are rodents. One animal that looks like a large rat but isn't is the capybara, despite being a close relative.

Capybara

  • Native to South America
  • Water chicken
  • closely related to the guinea pig
  • semi-aquatic mammal

mouse

  • True mice, or old world mice, originated in Asia
  • Chinchilla
  • The word rat is used in the names of other small mammals that are not rats.

Bonus: The biggest rat ever!

While the largest rats today live in the forests of Southeast Asia, even larger species once roamed the jungles of the Indonesian island of Timor. Unearthed skeletons of the genus Coryphomys reveal a species of mouse that may have weighed 13.2 pounds. Imagine a mouse the size of a border terrier!

This size makes Coryphomys the largest mouse that ever lived. The genus is extinct today, but distant relatives can still be found on islands such as New Guinea.

next

  • mouse
  • What do mice eat?
  • Rat Gestation Period: How Long Are Rats Pregnant?

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featured image

Northern Luzon Giant Cloud Rat

© chrisbrignell/Shutterstock.com


about the author


For many years, I have been writing professionally, with an emphasis on animals and wildlife. I love spending time outdoors, and when I'm not writing I'll be found on a farm surrounded by horses, dogs, sheep and pigs.

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