New species of rat with no molars slurps down worms

A unique species of near-toothless rat that lives off earthworms and doesn’t chew or gnaw has been seen in Indonesia.

The shrew-like animal with a long, pointed snout was described online in this week’s British journal Biology Letters. Paucidentomys vermidax, which translates loosely to “few-toothed rat” and “worm eater”, is the only rodent out of more than 2,200 known species that does not have molars and instead has bicuspid upper incisors, it said.

Two rats were found in the mountainous rainforest of southern Sulawesi Island last year on Mount Latimojong and 100 km northwest on Mount Gandangdewata.

Since it lacks cheek teeth, the rat sucks in earthworms and slices them with its incisors before spitting out the pieces and then slurping bites down whole. — AP

Keywords: rat species