Giant bushy-tailed cloud rat (Crateromys schadenbergi)

Giant bushy-tailed cloud rat
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Giant bushy-tailed cloud rat fact file

Giant bushy-tailed cloud rat description

GenusCrateromys (1)

The giant bushy-tailed cloud rat is one of the most spectacular rodents in Asia (4), with an elongated body; long, bushy tail; and a coat of soft, thick underfur, with long wavy or straight overfur on the upperparts (2) (5), which gives this rat a fluffy appearance (4). The colour of the fur is variable, but is usually dark brown to black on the upperparts, dark greyish on the sides, and iron grey underneath, although some individuals may be whitish on the back and have white underparts (2) (5). The tail, which is longer than the length of the head and body (4), has scant woolly underfur, but is covered with long hairs, and the eyes and ears of this cloud rat are small (5). The hands and feet each have five digits, with the thumb bearing a flattened nail while the other digits have powerful, slender claws. The giant bushy-tailed cloud rat has a strange, shrill cry that has been described as similar to that of some insects (5).

Also known as
Luzon bushy-tailed cloud rat, Philippine bushy-tailed rat.
Total length: 684 – 765 mm (2)
Tail length: 359 – 407 mm (2)
1.4 – 1.5 kg (3)

Giant bushy-tailed cloud rat biology

During the daylight hours, the giant bushy-tailed cloud rat sleeps in trees, either in a cavity in the trunk or in a hole amongst the tree’s roots (2). As the sun sets, the cloud rat becomes active, feeding on the buds and bark of trees, and on fruits (2) (5). Occasionally, the giant bushy-tailed cloud rat will forage on the ground as well as in trees (8).

Giant bushy-tailed cloud rats construct their nests in trees, building a bulky structure with cut branches among the top branches of an oak or pine tree. A cosy chamber is created by lining the nest with a thick layer of pine needles, mosses and ferns (2).


Giant bushy-tailed cloud rat range

The giant bushy-tailed cloud rat occurs only in the high mountains of central northern Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines (2) (6).


Giant bushy-tailed cloud rat habitat

This tree-dwelling rodent inhabits mossy cloud forests and forest of pine and oak (7), where it is most common at elevations of 2,200 metres and above (3).


Giant bushy-tailed cloud rat status

Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


Giant bushy-tailed cloud rat threats

The giant bushy-tailed cloud rat is actively hunted by the local people of central northern Luzon, who value its meat and use its beautiful, wool-like fur to make items (2) (5). Some giant bushy-tailed cloud rats have also been captured to be kept as pets. The deterioration and loss of forest habitat may also be threatening this species (5), as commercial agriculture, population growth and poverty in the Philippines forces people to clear forest for cultivation at increasingly high altitudes (9).


Giant bushy-tailed cloud rat conservation

The giant bushy-tailed cloud rat occurs in several national parks in northern Luzon (8), including Mount Pulag National Park (3). Hunting of this species is not permitted under Philippine law, except by indigenous people using traditional methods (8).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

For further information on conservation in the Philippines see:




Authenticated (28/08/08) by Dr Lawrence Heaney, Curator and Head of the Division of Mammals, The Field Museum, Chicago.



  1. IUCN Red List (June, 2009)
  2. Rabor, D.S. (1986) Guide to Philippine Flora and Fauna. Natural Resources Management Centre, Ministry of Natural Resources and University of the Philippines.
  3. Heaney, LR and Balete, DS. (2008) Pers. comm.
  4. Musser, G.G. and Gordon, L.K. (1981) New species of Crateromys (Muridae) from the Philippines. Journal of Mammalogy, 62(3): 513 - 525.
  5. Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walker's Mammals of the World. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.
  6. Oliver, W.L.R., Cox, C.R., Gonzales, P.C. and Heaney, L.R. (1993) Cloud rats in the Philippines – preliminary report on distribution and status. Oryx, 27(1): 41 - 48.
  7. Heaney, L.R., Balete, D.S., Dolar, M.L., Alcala, A.C., Dans, A.T.L., Gonzales, P.C., Ingle, N.R., Lepiten, M.V., Oliver, W.L.R., Ong, P.S., Rickart, E.A., Tabaranza Jr, B.R. and Utzurrum, R.C.B. (1998) A synopsis of the mammalian fauna of the Philippine Islands. Fieldiana Zoology, 88: 1 - 61. Available at:
  8. Heaney, L.R. (2008) Pers. comm.
  9. Wikramanayake, E.D., Dinnerstein, E., Loucks, C.J., Olson, D.M., Morrison, J., Lamoreux, J., McKnight, M. and Hedao, P. (2002) Terrestrial Ecoregions of the Indo-Pacific: A Conservation Assessment. Island Press, Washington, DC.

Image credit

Giant bushy-tailed cloud rat  
Giant bushy-tailed cloud rat

© DS Balete / The Field Museum

Lawrence Heaney
1400 S. Lake Shore Dr


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