Malagasy Giant Rat, Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat, Votsota

(Hypogeomys antimena)


Malagasy Giant Rat, Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat, Votsota IUCN ENDANGERED (EN)


Facts about this animal

With a head-body length of 30-35 cm and a tail of 21-25 cm, the "votsotsa" is by far the largest rodent of Madagascar. The ears are large, the legs are elongated and rabbit-like. The colour of its harsh fur is greyish-brown on the upper side, and white on the limbs and belly. The tail is dark brown.


The Malagasy giant rat is strictly nocturnal. It occupies an ecological niche comparable to that of the rabbit in other parts of the world. Like rabbits, giant jumping rats live in burrows. These typically consist of a complex of tunnels, each around 45 cm in diameter, up to 5 meters long and one meter underground. A family unit, consisting of a monogamous pair and offspring, generally lives in a burrow and maintains a territory covering 3-4 hectares - although this expands in the dry seasons when food is scarce.


Malagasy giant rats usually give birth to one single young.

Did you know?
That it takes female Malagasy giant rats two years to reach sexual maturity? During this time they often stay at home with their parents.


Name (Scientific) Hypogeomys antimena
Name (English) Malagasy Giant Rat, Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat, Votsota
Name (French) Rat malgache géant, Rat sauteur géant de Madagascar, Vositse
Name (German) Madagaskarratte
Name (Spanish) Rata saltadora
Local names Malagasy: Votsotsa
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Adrian Pingstone



Range Madagascar
Habitat Coastal dry deciduous forest
Wild population Approx. < 9'000 (2001)
Zoo population 69 reported to ISIS

In the Zoo

Malagasy Giant Rat, Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat, Votsota


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 81 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Tom Junek

Why do zoos keep this animal

The Malagasy giant rat is endangered due to the ongoing destruction of its habitat, of which no more than 1000 square kilometers are left. Zoos therefore try to build up a small reserve population.