Tag Archives: Pennatomys nivalis

Pennatomys nivalis Turvey, Weksler, Morris & Nokkert

Nevis Rice Rat (Pennatomys nivalis)  

The Nevis Rice Rat was described in 2010 based on subfossil remains found in Amerindian archaeological sites that date from about 790 B.C. to 1200 A.D..  

The rat inhabited the islands of Nevis and St. Kitts, Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, as well as the nearby Sint Eustatius, Caribbean Netherlands, which together formed a single larger island during Quaternary low sea-level stands. [2]  


The Nevis Rat may in fact have survived until the 20th century because there are several reports from the early 18th up to the early 20th century of rats being eaten on Nevis and St. Kitts, some of the rats recorded as unusual-looking, so that they may well represent this species, yet this can possibly never be proved.  

In a report by Reverend William Smith from 1720 it can be read.:  

… others will wrap up Cane Rats, in Banano-Leaves, and roast them in Wood Embers.” [1]  


Nevis Island is now overrun by introduced predatory mongooses and rats. [2]  



[1] William Smith, Revd. Mr.: A natural history of Nevis and the rest of the English Leeward Charibee Islands in America: with many other observations on nature and art, particularly an introduction to the art of decyphering. Cambridge: printed by J. Bentham 1745 
[2] S. T. Turvey; M. Weksler; E. L. Morris; M. Nokkert: Taxonomy, phylogeny and diversity of the extinct Lesser Antillean rice rats (Sigmodontinae: Oryzomyini), with description of a new genus and species. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 160(4): 784-772. 2010


edited: 17.02.2020