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The cloud rats or cloudrunners are a group of arboreal and nocturnal herbivorous rodents endemic to the cloud forests of the Philippines. Biologically, it is a clade belonging to the family Muridae and includes five genera: ''Batomys'' (hairy-tailed rats), ''Carpomys'' (dwarf cloud rats), ''Crateromys'' (bushy-tailed cloud rats), ''Musseromys'' (Luzon tree mice), and ''Phloeomys'' (giant cloud rats). They range in size from as large as to as small as . Cloud rats are threatened by habitat loss and illegal hunting. Several species are endangered or critically endangered.

Description

Cloud rats are characterized by long furry or hairy tails and short hind limbs with grasping feet. They spend most of their time in the canopy of cloud forests, hence the name "cloud rat" or "cloudrunner". They are believed to be entirely herbivorous, primarily eating leaves, buds, bark, fruits, and seeds. Their ecology and behavior are poorly known. Cloud rats belonging to the genera ''Batomys'', ''Crateromys'', and ''Phloeomys'' are typically large, with the largest species being ''Phloeomys pallidus'' (reaching up to in weight) and ''Crateromys schadenbergi'' (reaching up to in weight). They measure from around in length. Members of the genera ''Carpomys'' and ''Batomys'' are smaller, with a maximum weight of and , respectively. The smallest are members of the recently-described genus ''Musseromys'', with a recorded weight of only and body lengths of only .

Conservation

Several species of cloud rats are classified as endangered or critically endangered by the IUCN. Cloud rats are primarily threatened with habitat loss and human encroachment due to the extensive deforestation of the Philippines. Larger species of cloud rats (''Phloeomys '' and ''Crateromys'' spp.) are also hunted for food, usually by hunter-gatherer tribes in the mountains of the Philippines. In some areas, they are the most commonly hunted species, and hundreds of animals are estimated to be killed annually. Hunting or possession of wildlife is illegal in the Philippines, under Republic Act 9147 (the Wildlife Protection and Conservation Law of 2001), but enforcement still remains problematic. Several European and North American zoos also keep and breed cloud rats in captivity; including the London Zoo, Prague Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Bronx Zoo, Wingham Wildlife Park and Chester Zoo.

Taxonomy

The cloud rat clade (the "''Phloeomys'' division", ''sensu'' Musser & Carleton, 2005), sometimes treated as the tribe Phloeomyini (LeCompte et. al, 2008), includes the closely-related genera ''Batomys'' (hairy-taled rats), ''Carpomys'' (dwarf cloud rats), ''Crateromys'' (bushy-tailed cloud rats), ''Musseromys'' (Luzon tree mice), and ''Phloeomys'' (giant cloud rats). They belong to the subfamily Murinae of the family Muridae (rats and mice). Note: Extinct species are marked with *''Batomys'' - Hairy-tailed rats **''Batomys dentatus'' - Large-toothed hairy-tailed rat **''Batomys granti'' - Luzon hairy-tailed rat **''Batomys hamiguitan'' - Hamiguitan hairy-tailed rat **''Batomys russatus'' - Dinagat hairy-tailed rat **''Batomys salomonseni'' - Mindanao hairy-tailed rat **''Batomys uragon'' **''Batomys cagayanensis'' *''Carpomys'' - Dwarf cloud rats **''Carpomys melanurus'' - Dwarf cloud rat, short-footed Luzon tree rat **''Carpomys phaeurus'' - White-bellied Luzon tree rat **''Carpomys dakal'' *''Crateromys'' - Bushy-tailed cloud rats **''Crateromys australis'' - Dinagat Island cloud rat, rediscovered in 2012 **''Crateromys schadenbergi'' - Giant bushy-tailed cloud rat **''Crateromys paulus'' - Ilin Island cloud rat, collected in 1981 through a dead specimen **''Crateromys heaneyi'' - Panay bushy-tailed cloud rat **''Crateromys ballik'' *''Musseromys'' - Luzon tree mice **''Musseromys anacuao'' **''Musseromys beneficus'' **''Musseromys gulantang'' - Banahaw tree mouse **''Musseromys inopinatus'' *''Phloeomys'' - Giant cloud rats **''Phloeomys pallidus'' - Northern Luzon slender-tailed cloud rat **''Phloeomys cumingi'' - Southern Luzon slender-tailed cloud rat

See also

*''Apomys'' (earthworm mice) *List of threatened species of the Philippines

References

{{Reflist|40em Category:Rats of Asia Category:Endemic fauna of the Philippines Category:Rodents of the Philippines Category:Mammal common names