Giant rat

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Giant rat

Post  Admin on 10/27/2008, 12:47 am

Giant rat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

For species literally called "giant rats" see the genus Kunsia
Nutrias are sometimes mistaken for the fearsome Giant Rat of Sumatra.

A giant rat is a rat that is substantially larger than its other rodent cousins. Rats of startling size do appear in nature such as the Gambian Pouched Rat, Cricetomys gambianus, adult specimens of which have been known to attain upwards of 3 feet in size from nose to base of tail; and the caviomorphs of South America regularly top the scales at over 200 lb (90 kg) in weight. However, the most noteworthy giant rats appear as monsters in fiction, role-playing games, computer games, and other venues of fantasy.
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Sherlock Holmes and the Giant Rat of Sumatra

Perhaps the best known giant rat in fiction comes from the pen of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who in The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire has Sherlock Holmes declare, as an aside, to Dr. Watson:

Matilda Briggs was not the name of a young woman, Watson, . . . It was a ship which is associated with the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared.
Holmes's reference would appear to imply that the ship Matilda Briggs somehow became infested with giant rats. There is no "giant rat of Sumatra," although the Flores Giant Rat lurks in the nearby island of Flores in Indonesia; this giant rat is twice the size of a common European Brown Rat.
Based on this tantalising aside, a number of authors of Sherlockiana have endeavoured to fill in the blank and supply the missing adventure of the giant rat of Sumatra for a world that is now presumed to be prepared for its revelation. These tales include:

This reference was expanded by conceptual comedy group The Firesign Theatre in 1974 into the satire The Tale of the Giant Rat Of Sumatra (LP Columbia KC32730) with protagonists Hemlock Stones, the 'Great Defective', and his biographer and companion, Dr. John Flotsom, O. D., part of which takes place aboard the "Matilda Brigg". The name of this ship induces the group to perform the song Frigate Matilda (to the tune of Waltzing Matilda), which has become somewhat of a cult standard.[edit]

Other fictional giant rats

  • The Stephen King anthology Night Shift contains a short story, Graveyard Shift, later made into a movie of the same name, which climaxes with the revelation of a giant rat.

  • James Herbert's "The Rats" trilogy also features giant rats in a horror context.

See also


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