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You are here: Home / Associated publications / Belgian Journal of Zoology / Bibliographic References / Feeding biology of the dassie-rat Petromus typicus (Rodentia, Hystricognathi, Petromuridae) in captivity

Andrea Mess and Manfred Ade (2005)

Feeding biology of the dassie-rat Petromus typicus (Rodentia, Hystricognathi, Petromuridae) in captivity


We examined the feeding biology of the poorly known dassie-rat Petromus . External morphology indicates that the digging for soil-inhabiting invertebrates as food is unlikely. Animals in captivity refuse to cat insect larvae and data from field Studies indicate that invertebrates play no major role with regard to the intake quantity. Observations oil jaw movements and Occlusion patterns of the check teeth indicate that Petromus is not restricted to high-fibre plant matter as food. This matches the catholic diet of Petromus in captivity and in the wild, where e.g. flowers and fruits are consumed when available. The rooted and moderately hypsodont check teeth suggest limited adaptation to abrasive plant material in comparison to other grass feeding hystricognaths. However, captive specimens consume high Fibrous graminoid material during all activity phases, even when energetically more rewarding food is available. This suggests that Fibre is an important food component. The stomach has no proventriculus or similar structure. Therefore, fermentation of plant matter in that region and/or rumination is unlikely. The caecum is large and haustrated, indicating the ability to process cellulose by micro-organisms. The morphology of the proximal colon indicates the presence of the so-called colon separating mechanism (CSM). It is therefore likely that the animals are able to produce vitamin and protein-rich faeces. This is confirmed by the occurrence of coprophagy by Petromus. The great variety of food sources hints at the ability of Petromus to cope with unstable environments, as is the case in xeric areas.

Rodentia; Hystricognathi; Petromus; feeding behaviour; nutrition; digestive system; coprophagy; rumination
  • ISSN: 0777-6276

ISSN 2295-0451 (online version)
ISSN 0777-6279 (printed version)
impact factor 2015: 0,87.

Prof. Dr. Isa Schön
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Vautierstraat 29
1000 Brussels, Belgium


Annales de la Société malacologique de Belgique
​Annales de la Société royale malacologique et zoologique de Belgique
Annales de la Société Royale Zoologique de Belgique
Belgian Journal of Zoology