The Gambian giant pouched rat (Cricetomys gambianus), which are native to a large area of central and southern Africa, accidentally became established in the Florida Keys in 1999 following an escape or release by a pet breeder. If this invasive species reaches the US mainland, there could be extensive damage to the Florida fruit industry. This species also poses a risk of monkeypox and other diseases. The Gambian giant pouched rat is the subject of a cooperative partnership among WS, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, US Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Water Management District, and the Florida Park Service, to eradicate the invasive species from the Florida Keys.
The Gambian giant pouched rat is an invasive species that occurs in the Florida Keys.
A range expansion of Gambian giant pouched rats onto the US mainland could harm other wildlife species and agricultural production.
Federal agencies’ responsibilities to control Gambian giant pouched rats are established in Executive Order 13112.
Wildlife Services’ National Wildlife Research Center conducts research and investigational activities on a wide variety of wildlife damage issues including those related to Gambian giant pouched rats.