Cricetomys are in great demand as food.
Other language names: French Rats gÃ©ants; German Riesenhamsterratte.
The African giant rat Cricetomys gambianus is found in tropical Africa, where it is highly esteemed as food, and often reaches a length approaching one metre from nose-tip to tail-tip. These giant rats are often accompanied by a highly unusual parasite, a "weird, wingless cockroach," Hemimerus talpoides, almost 2 cm in length. The smaller C. gambianus (30 to 45 cm in length) is found from Senegal to central Sudan, and south to South Africa. It is confined to the eastern parts of the continent in areas with a mean annual rainfall in excess of about 800 mm. C. emini ranges from Sierra Leone to Lake Tanganyika, and on the island of Bioko (Fernando Poo), has been studied for its potential for domestic production of food. The giant rat C. gambianus has a wide distribution south of the Sahara.
Cricetomys gambianus is classified as rare in South Africa and as "Lower Risk" by the IUCN as is Cricetomys emini.