Top 8 Largest Rats in the World

Top 8 Largest Rats in the World: Rats are widely known as small creatures that scurry around in urban areas or hide in the corners of our homes. However, not all rats are small. Some species have evolved to become quite large, dwarfing their smaller counterparts. In this article, we will explore the world of the largest rats and discover the top eight largest species found across the globe.

Top 8 Largest Rats in the World
Top 8 Largest Rats in the World


Rats belong to the order Rodentia and are found in various habitats worldwide. While most rats are relatively small, there are several species that have earned the title of “giant rats.” These larger rodents exhibit impressive sizes and can be found in different parts of the world. Let’s explore the top eight largest rats and learn more about their fascinating characteristics.

1. Gambian Pouched Rat

The Gambian Pouched Rat (Cricetomys gambianus) takes the first spot on our list. Native to Africa, these rats can reach lengths of up to 3 feet, including their tail. Despite their large size, they are surprisingly docile and often kept as pets.

2. Capybara

Although technically not classified as a rat, the Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) deserves a mention due to its size. Native to South America, these semi-aquatic creatures are the largest rodents in the world. They can weigh up to 150 pounds and measure over 4 feet in length.

3. Sumatran Bamboo Rat

Found in the forests of Sumatra, Indonesia, the Sumatran Bamboo Rat (Rhizomys sumatrensis) is known for its hefty build. These rats can weigh around 6 pounds and reach lengths of up to 2 feet. They primarily feed on bamboo and other vegetation.

4. African Giant Pouched Rat

The African Giant Pouched Rat (Cricetomys ansellus) is another impressive rat species from Africa. Growing up to 3 feet long, including the tail, they have a robust appearance. These rats are also known for their exceptional sense of smell and are often utilized for tasks such as landmine detection and tuberculosis detection.

5. Malayan Bamboo Rat

The Malayan Bamboo Rat (Rhizomys sinensis) is a large rat species found in Southeast Asia. They are primarily found in underground burrows and can weigh up to 7 pounds. With their stout bodies and strong claws, they are well-adapted to their subterranean lifestyle.

6. Himalayan Marmot

While not strictly classified as rats, Himalayan Marmots (Marmota himalayana) share similar characteristics and deserve a place on this list. These ground-dwelling rodents are found in the high-altitude regions of the Himalayas. They can weigh up to 20 pounds and reach lengths of around 2 feet.

7. Malagasy Giant Rat

Endemic to Madagascar, the Malagasy Giant Rat (Hypogeomys antimena) is one of the largest rats in the world. These rats can weigh over 4 pounds and measure up to 1.5 feet in length. They are primarily herbivorous, feeding on roots, bulbs, and fruits.

8. Norwegian Brown Rat

Last but not least, we have the Norwegian Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus). Although they are not the largest rats on our list, they are worth mentioning due to their global presence. These rats are highly adaptable and can be found in urban environments worldwide. They typically weigh around 1 pound and measure approximately 1 foot long.


The world of rats is more diverse than we may think, with several species growing to remarkable sizes. From the Gambian Pouched Rat to the Norwegian Brown Rat, these rodents showcase the wide range of adaptations found within the rodent family. While some may consider them pests, it’s important to appreciate the diversity of life on our planet, even among these larger members of the rat family.

Read Also: 10 Breeds of Dogs That Live the Shortest Lives on Average

FAQs for Top 8 Largest Rats in the World

1. Are giant rats dangerous?

Most giant rats are not inherently dangerous to humans. However, it’s essential to exercise caution and avoid approaching or provoking any wild animal, regardless of its size.

2. Can giant rats be kept as pets?

Some species, like the Gambian Pouched Rat, can be kept as pets. However, they require special care, adequate space, and a proper understanding of their needs.

3. Do giant rats have any ecological significance?

Giant rats, like any other species, play a role in their respective ecosystems. They contribute to seed dispersal, soil aeration, and nutrient cycling, among other ecological processes.

4. How can we prevent rats from becoming pests in urban areas?

To prevent rats from becoming pests, it is important to maintain cleanliness, secure food sources, seal off potential entry points, and employ pest control measures when necessary.

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