Hawili | @nmenmindanao

ENDEMIC, ENDANGERED, ELUSIVE. These three Es perfectly describe the National Museum’s Fauna Friday feature today – the Dinagat bushy-tailed cloud rat (Crateromys australis) or locally known as “hawili”.

Do you know that this species was rediscovered in 2012 in the Dinagat Islands, Eastern Northern Mindanao, after 40 years in hiding?

Endemic only to the Philippines and identified as critically-endangered species, the Dinagat bushy-tailed cloud rat measures around 30-70cm and has a tri-colored tail. Described as one of the most spectacular murids and one of the most mysterious species of the Crateromy genus, it is known only from a holotype captured during a survey in 1975.

Sometime in January 2012, zoologist Dr. Milada Řeháková and husband Václav Řehák, both from the Czech Republic, conducted a study on Philippine tarsiers and collected information about the Dinagat cloud rat based on previously completed surveys and studies. The couple was able to come across the Dinagat bushy-tailed-cloud rat accidentally and managed to take photos and videos. Their rediscovery of the species was then scientifically confirmed.

The Cloud Rats are a group of arboreal (living in trees) and folivorous (leaf-eating) nocturnal rodents endemic to the forests of the Philippines. They are the most prominent members of the subfamily Murinae and include some of the most spectacular and beautiful rodents in the world distinguished from other murids by their large size and densely furred tails.

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