Join our zoo community

Which small mammal interests you more: The potoroo or the Malagasy giant jumping rat? (poll)

Discussion in 'Zoo Cafe' started by Onychorhynchus coronatus, 16 Oct 2020.

?

Which small mammal interests you more: the potoroo or the Malagasy giant jumping rat ?

Poll closed 23 Oct 2020.
  1. Potoroo

    6 vote(s)
    33.3%
  2. Malagasy giant jumping rat

    12 vote(s)
    66.7%
  1. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2019
    Posts:
    8,273
    Location:
    Brazil
    I thought it would be interesting to create another poll for zoochatters to vote for two small mammal species which are often just labelled as "rats" by the average person (regardless of whether they are or not) but that we will know to be fascinating in their own right : the potoroo (of any species) or the Malagasy giant jumping rat.

    Which species interests you most / will you vote for ?

    Please also feel free to write comments regarding why you made the choice and why the species you have voted for interests you more.

    Thanks !

    Look forward to seeing the results!
     
    David Matos Mendes likes this.
  2. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2019
    Posts:
    8,273
    Location:
    Brazil
    Giant jumping rat currently in the lead ! :)

    I voted for this species in the poll because from reading quite a lot about this animal I am more familiar with it and its ecology, have seen it in the flesh at ZSL (and thought it was a beautiful animal) and of course because as a true rodent I feel it is going to be the underdog and I always go with the underdogs.

    I also find the potoroos absolutely fascinating though and am still filling in my knowledge about their ecology and conservation.
     
    Last edited: 16 Oct 2020
  3. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member 5+ year member

    Joined:
    30 Jul 2018
    Posts:
    6,667
    Location:
    Somewhere near a zoo
    Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat for me. I saw one at London not long ago, and the sheer size of it amazes me. The fact that bemuses me is that it can jump a metre into the air!:eek:
     
  4. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2019
    Posts:
    8,273
    Location:
    Brazil
    Thanks for your comment Jambo !

    Yes, that is also where I saw the species a couple of times (as far as I can remember for the first time).

    They are brilliant aren't they ?

    Some similarities between potoroos and the giant jumping rat is their monogamous reproductive strategy, nocturnal behaviour and threats faced in the wild such as invasive predators, habitat loss and infectious diseases.
     
  5. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member 5+ year member

    Joined:
    30 Jul 2018
    Posts:
    6,667
    Location:
    Somewhere near a zoo
    You're welcome.:)

    That's the only time i've seen one. And yes, they're a brilliant species. :cool:
     
  6. Jungle Man

    Jungle Man Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    24 Jan 2020
    Posts:
    1,583
    Location:
    Panama
    Difficult one. I can't choose on this one, both of them amaze me and are very interesting. Also, I want to see both. So sorry, but I'm not voting this time.
     
  7. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2019
    Posts:
    8,273
    Location:
    Brazil
    Have a think about it @Jungle Man, it is a hard one I agree, come back to it in a couple of days, would like your vote in this.
     
  8. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2019
    Posts:
    8,273
    Location:
    Brazil
    Very much so, I think they are not only interesting but really quite endearing too and their conservation plight does concern me quite a lot.

    The ones at ZSL are so active so they are brilliant to watch but I do wish that they were kept with aye-aye like is done at Jersey rather than with bushbabies (just personally prefer species from same habitat kept in mixed species enclosures)
     
    Jambo likes this.
  9. Najade

    Najade Well-Known Member 5+ year member

    Joined:
    29 May 2017
    Posts:
    1,092
    Location:
    Germany
    The rats are residents at “my” zoo though the average visitor won’t be able to see ‘em atm.
    And I’m told we’re getting Potoroos in the foreseeable future too.
    Have seen all three Potoroo species in the wild and they are way cooler than the rats so of course I voted for them.
     
  10. Carl Jones

    Carl Jones Well-Known Member 5+ year member

    Joined:
    27 Sep 2014
    Posts:
    299
    Location:
    Wales
    The Giant Jumping Rat needs all the profile and help it can get. The wild population is declining rapidly due to habitat destruction and unless something is done rapidly it could be lost in the next decade or so.
     
  11. Najade

    Najade Well-Known Member 5+ year member

    Joined:
    29 May 2017
    Posts:
    1,092
    Location:
    Germany
    Gilbert’s Potoroo might have a thing or two to say about population decline too :p
     
  12. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2019
    Posts:
    8,273
    Location:
    Brazil
    Yes, but I think (again not 100 % sure) that the National conservation efforts in Australia with the Gilbert's potoroo since 1994 are more organized and concentrated than with the giant jumping rat in Madagascar.

    I guess this is only natural when you consider that Australia is a first world / industrialized country and Madagascar a developing world country and in fact one of the most economically impoverished in the world.
     
  13. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2019
    Posts:
    8,273
    Location:
    Brazil
    Totally agree Carl, I think that the species could definitely do with having a much higher profile within conservation (unfortunately rodents in general seem to really suffer from this lack of attention).

    However, I do think that it is very difficult to shift perception of the jumping rat so that is regarded on the same level of concern with lemurs for most people. I think this is due to it being a rodent and a rat and that an increase in empathy and concern would have to overcome what could be an innate human disgust or psychological fear towards these animals.

    With this species I think the key may be to focus on / highlight some of its more endearing attributes and characteristics like the faintly rabbit-like appearance and things such as its monogamous breeding strategy and the longer period that the young spend with the parents before dispersal.

    I know that the rabbit similarity has been something capitalized on by the Australians with the conservation of their greater bilby (which I've always thought has a bit of a resemblance to the giant jumping rat). Apparently they have even succeeded in replacing the "Easter bunny" with this endemic mammal. Maybe something similar could work with campaigns relating to the ex-situ conservation of the species in places like zoos ?

    Nevertheless, I guess that this kind of species conservation approach to an outreach campaign probably wouldn't work in Madagascar because of the drastically different socio-economic situation. To add to this is the challenge of how ingrained the "fady" socio-cultural belief systems are in the fabric of Malagasy society with regards to the animals. So the ecosystem conservation approach to the Kirindy forest that the Durrell trust currently do definitely seems to me to be the best option.

    I know that Durrell did try to help shift perceptions of the species in the book "The Aye-Aye and I" and that certainly is where I would have first heard of this animal. I remember him putting a lot of creativity and humour into his description of the rat in the chapter on the Kirindy forest work (I think this is actually probably my favourite book of his).
     
    Last edited: 17 Oct 2020
  14. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2019
    Posts:
    8,273
    Location:
    Brazil
    What was it like seeing these animals in the wild ? were they hard to find ?
     
  15. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member 5+ year member

    Joined:
    17 Jul 2016
    Posts:
    6,553
    Location:
    .
    I'd love to see a potoroo, but ultimately I'd got with the rodent over the marsupial.
     
  16. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2019
    Posts:
    8,273
    Location:
    Brazil
    Thanks for your post TinoPup !

    Well this comes as a bit of a suprise that the giant jumping rat is in the lead, but these polls are always interesting because they can reveal a lot.

    It seems that maybe the greater familiarity that people have with rodents outside of Australia may make people vote for the giant jumping rat but the opposite seems to happen with Aussies and their native potoroo and marsupials.
     
    TinoPup likes this.
  17. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member 5+ year member

    Joined:
    17 Jul 2016
    Posts:
    6,553
    Location:
    .
    I can't speak for anyone else, but I <3 rodents, and they're so often overlooked/ignored.
     
  18. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2019
    Posts:
    8,273
    Location:
    Brazil
    Yes, I definitely think that rodents are neglected in conservation terms (probably much more than marsupials) and the giant jumping rat seems to be very much an underdog.

    That isn't to say that potoroos aren't underdogs but even the Gilbert's potoroo as a critically endangered species seems to have a greater chance of conservation than the giant jumping rat. This due to the sharply contrasting socio-economic conditions countries in which these two species occur.
     
    Last edited: 19 Oct 2020
    TinoPup likes this.
  19. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2019
    Posts:
    8,273
    Location:
    Brazil
    Very suprised that the Giant jumping rat is currently leading the poll :) Very interesting to see !
     
  20. AWP

    AWP Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    31 Aug 2017
    Posts:
    529
    Location:
    the Netherlands
    Votsotsa is great, but I prefer little marsupials above rodents so voted for potoroo.

    I guess you have to update your location in your profile... Do you work in Duisburg, or am I completely wrong with my thoughts?