Isabel naked-tailed rat (Solomys sapientis)

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Isabel naked-tailed rat fact file

Isabel naked-tailed rat description

GenusSolomys (1)

Thought to be a recently evolved species, the Isabel naked-tailed rat probably only diverged from its sister species (the Bougainville naked-tailed rat) as little as 14,000 years ago. This is thought to have happened after rising sea levels divided the island they inhabited, splitting the population in two (3). The Isabel naked-tailed rat has cinnamon brown fur on its back and sides and the underside is a pinkish buff colour (2). Like other members of the Solomys genus, it has a hairless prehensile tail, strongly clawed, padded feet and four mammary glands (2).

Head-body length: 25 cm (2)
Tail length: 25 cm (2)

Isabel naked-tailed rat biology

Little is known about the biology of the Isabel naked-tailed rat. It reportedly feeds on coconuts and the nuts of the Canarium tree and (2), like other members of its genus, is believed to nest in large forest trees (2). Its nests are built from leaves and sticks inside hollow branches, offering some protection from predators (2).


Isabel naked-tailed rat range

The Isabel naked-tailed rat is found on only the small island of Santa Isabella in the Solomon Islands (4). It is thought that it also once inhabited nearby Malaita Island and possibly San Cristobal Island but it is now extinct from both. Its range covers most of Santa Isabella but it is becoming scarcer in the south-west of the island (1).


Isabel naked-tailed rat habitat

The Isabel naked-tailed rat lives in tropical moist forest and is thought to spend its life almost entirely in the trees (3).


Isabel naked-tailed rat status

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

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


Isabel naked-tailed rat threats

The most significant threat to this species is habitat loss, mainly due to commercial logging and the creation of farm land. To a lesser degree, it is also threatened by hunting by local people for food (1).


Isabel naked-tailed rat conservation

There are no currently no specific conservation projects in place for this species and more research is needed to fully understand its current conservation status (1). It is unclear whether it currently occurs in any protected areas, but suitable habitat needs to be protected if its survival is to be ensured (1).

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

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Discover more about wildlife conservation in the Solomon Islands at:



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This species information was authored as part of the Arkive and Universities Scheme.


A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
Capable of grasping.


  1. IUCN Red List (March, 2010)
  2. Nowak, R.M. (1999). Walker's Mammals of the World. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
  3. Flannery, T.F. and Wickler, S. (1990) Quaternary murids (Rodentia: Muridae) from Buka Island, Papua New Guinea, with descriptions of two new species. Australian Mammalogy, 13: 127-139.
  4. Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, M.D. (2005) Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
  5. United Nations Environment Programme (November, 2009)

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