#218 Ethiopian Amphibious Rat

Critically Endangered

Around the World in 80 Days - Day 10

Phileas Fogg is right by Ethiopia today.

So it was kind of weird. Usually when I look up an animal that is showing up on multiple pages, there is a variety of information about them. These it was a copy and paste for all of the pages except a couple scientific papers behind paywalls, and maybe one other page. I do not know where the information everyone was using originated, and what information there was, was not overly informative. It is thought that these may well be extinct. They have rarely been seen, and only one specimen ever caught. Their habitat has been disappearing. They live in wetlands that is being taken over to use for livestock. They have the "largest cranial capacity of any African muroid" (muroid is the largest family of rodents). I'm hoping that means they are smart enough to have figured out a way to survive. They have webbed feet and use their whiskers to help them find food such as insects in the water.

The information all the pages shared said they had waders, but then essentially said that was actually webbed feet. I didn't really understand why pages trying to be accurate or seem scientific would not simply say webbed feet rather than try and humanize them by saying they have waders. Unless there was something else that the few scientific illustrations did not show and the description did not explain, I don't find it helpful. I am obviously walking a fine line between using scientific terms and just basic terms. I want this to be taken seriously, so I do try to use scientific terms at least in the first paragraph which I consider the informative one. The second paragraph is more fair game, but I do still try not to necessarily talk about the animals the way I probably would in real life. I'd be more likely to call them critters, baby, fuzz-butt, things like that. For some reason, seeing sites like EOL, Wikipedia, and others talk about a rat having waders really kind of bugs me. Alright, full disclosure, it also makes me want to draw a rat wearing hip waders and fishing. I think I'm going to put my soap box in the recycling now. I wish I could have found more factual information about these rats though.

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