Science | September 28, 2017 5:00 am

Scientists Discover Gigantic Island Rat That Lurks in Trees

The 18-inch long rat is thought to crack coconuts and eat fruit seeds.

Vangunu giant rat, we hardly knew ye.

After seven years of scrambling up trees and braving dense rain and vegetation, mammalogist Tyrone Lavery told Smithsonian Magazine that he’s discovered an 18-inch long species of rat in the Solomon Islands. Unfortunately for the rat — and maybe good news for New Yorkers, no matter how far away we may be — Uromys vika is already critically endangered.

“This rat was found right on the edge of their land,” Lavery told the Smithsonian. But even though it may not be cuddly, Lavery is identifying the role the fluffy rodent plays in the ecosystem. He’s hoping that awareness of the furry rodent will increase recognition of how valuable the area truly is, so that it won’t have to completely turn to logging as a source of income to feed families.

If rats don’t do it for you, it’s notable that Vangunu is also home to monkey-faced bats and leatherback turtles, who come to the beach to lay their eggs.