Cannomys badiuslesser bamboo rat

Geographic Range

Cannomys badius is found in Nepal, northern and eastern Bangladesh, northern Cambodia, northern Vietnam, Bhutan, Assam, southwestern Yunnan, Burma, Thailand, and Laos (Nowak, 1999).


Cannomys badius inhabit thicket and bamboo forests and hilly mountainous regions (Anderson, 1984) and are sometimes found at high elevations (Grzimek, 1975).

Physical Description

Body length of Cannomys badius is 6.4 to 18 inches (Grzimek, 1990). Commonly called the lesser bamboo rat, it has small ears and eyes and greatly resembles the American poket gopher, except in its lack of cheek pouches. C. badius has thick fur on its head and body with less fur on its tail. This mammal ranges in color from reddish cinnamon and chesnut brown to ashy gray and plumbeous. Some individuals possess a white band on the top of the head and a narrower band from the chin to throat (Nowak, 1999).

Cannomys badius is a medium sized mammal with short, powerful legs (Anderson, 1984). They posses long, powerful digging claws and smooth pads on the soles of the feet (Nowak, 1999). C. badius have large incisors and molars that have flat crowns and roots (Grzimek, 1975). The zygomatic arch is very wide and the body is thick and heavy. Female lesser bamboo rats have two pectoral and two abdominal pairs of mammae (Nowak, 1999).

  • Range mass
    500 to 4000 g
    17.62 to 140.97 oz
  • Average basal metabolic rate
    0.96 W


Female Cannomys badius can bear one to five young per birth (Grzimek, 1990). Breeding usually occurs during the wet seasons and gestation lasts about six or seven weeks (Anderson, 1984). The young develop relatively slowly, weaning periods are unknown (Nowak, 1999).

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual
  • Average number of offspring
  • Average gestation period
    42 days



Lesser bamboo rats leave their burrow in the evening to consume vegetation. When studied in captivity, activity reached its peak in the early morning or evening and they slept a great deal throughout most of the day. These mammals dig burrows in grassy areas, forests, and gardens (Nowak, 1999). Digging is done not only with their powerful feet but also with the help of their large incisors (Grzimek, 1990). An individual may construct several burrows but will only inhabit one (Grzimek, 1975). The tunnels constructed are simple and include a multipurpose nesting chamber (Anderson, 1984). Tunnels are often very deep. Lesser bamboo rats move slowly when above ground and are said to be fearless when an enemy approaches (Nowak, 1999).

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

C. badius eats mostly bamboo roots and shoots but also consume shrubs, young shoots of grasses and other roots, and will eat seeds and fruits (Anderson, 1984, Grzimek,1990).

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Cannomys badius is important to many tribes in the Burmese hills. These tribes hunt the lesser bamboo rat for food (Nowak, 1999).

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

C. badius will inhabit tea gardens and construct burrows and tunnel systems in them, damaging these crops (Nowak, 1999).

Conservation Status


Dayna Frey (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.


bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

World Map


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


uses touch to communicate


Anderson, S., J. Knox Jones. 1984. Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World. New York: John Willy & Sons, Inc..

Grzimek, B. 1990. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company.

Grzimek, B. 1975. Grzimek's animal Life Encyclopedia volume 11. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.

Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Sixth edition. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.