Elvira Rat - Can We Reverse the Disturbing Decline in Its Population?
TerraGreen|July 2021
Rats! Someone out there needs a bit of help. Is there a Pied Piper who can reverse the disappearance of a rodent? The Elvira rat needs a little magic to help it survive, says Benita Sen.
Benita Sen

If you put the little nocturnal Elvira rat (Cremnomys elvira) on the cuteness balance, this little species of rodent would prove to be a heavyweight and send the other pan up to hit the beam!

But how would you recognize the Elvira rat from any other? For one, the upper part of its body is a brownish grey while the lower fur is greyish white. Now, let us first see how tiny, this small creature is. If you measure it from the tip of the twitching nose to the rear, it would be about 149 mm or less than six inches long. Add to that a rather disproportionately long, two-coloured tail that often measures up to 196 mm or less than eight inches, and you have an adorable creature, often known as the large rock rat, that can sit in the palm of an adult human hand. It has the little beady eyes typical to rats and the inside of the ears is typically a delicate pink.

The Elvira rat is a member of the Muridae family, from the subfamily Murinae. It belongs to the Cremnomys genus of rodents that are found in India. This genus has just two members, the other species being the Cutch rat. If the Elvira rat goes extinct, the genus will be left halved. The latter species, happily, has a wide habitat that spreads over several states of India from Rajasthan in the north to Karnataka in the south. It is also seen in states such as Gujarat, Bihar, and Jharkhand. Predictably, its conservation status is not causing any concern. Yet.

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