Digestive tract of the African giant rat, Cricetomys gambianus


  • *Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, P/Bag X5890, Upington 8800, South Africa


The study of gastrointestinal morphology, anatomy, passage rates and pH in the African giant rat, Cricetomys gambianus, were undertaken to elucidate the relationship between feeding habits and gut structure. The relatively slow transit times of digesta, suggested to be advantageous in digestion, probably resulted from a complex gastrointestinal tract. The prime function of the large papillated corpus and fornix ventriculi is thought to be starch digestion, while the caecum enhances the utilization of undigested food. Gut structure appears to be a result of a multitude of selective forces, not only dietary habits.