Habitat: dense forests.
Size: HBL is 20 inches. TL is 15 inches. Weight is about 12 pounds.
Character: This species is one in a genus of small animals that live in underground burrows. This is the smallest species in the family. They are diurnal and highly social animals. They live in very large groups that can number up to 10,000 individuals. Their lifestyle is somewhat like the prairie dogs of the North American plains. Their diet consists of short grasses, and very occasionally fallen fruit and berries. Females breed twice a year and can have as many as 10 babies in one litter. All babies are cared for by all adults in their colony. Most of the time, the babies will stay with the family even after they are grown.
2. Psittacomys pratensis (tatahe)
Range: southern India.
Habitat: scattered forests.
Size: HBL is 30 inches. TL is 25 inches. Weight is about 20 pounds.
Character: A social animal. Though it is not as social as P. myomorpha. They do tend to burrow under trees. This is the one and only enterance to the burrows of these animals. Though the underground tunnels can stretch for as much as a half mile. Colonies of these animals may contain as many as 5000 individuals, usually containing several generations of a family. They feed mostly on grasses, leaves, and sometimes on some fallen fruit or berries they may find. Males and females pair together for life. The female may have as many as 10 babies in one litter. The babies are raised for as long as 2 months, at which time the female will mate again, and raise another litter before long.
3. Psittacomys antisensus (bolaheba)
Range: Korea to northern India.
Size: HBL is 35 inches. TL is 28 inches. Weight is about 30 pounds.
Character: This is the largest and heaviest of the Psittacomys species. They build large colonies that have a vast underground tunnel system. The only overground structures are the mounds they build to scan the horizon for predators. Their lifestyle is like the modern prairie dogs. They have senturies that keep their eyes open for threats and baby sitters that take care of the babies. They feed on anything they can find. They especially favor the short, green grasses. But they also dig for tubers, sometimes they feed on leaves, sometimes also on seeds and berries. Their colonies may be huge, and stretch for several miles. They may contain as many as 50,000 individuals. Some are family, some may be merged from neighboring colonies. Males and females stay and mate together for life. A single female may have as many as 10 babies. All of which are raised for the first 3 months of life, after which time, they are considered mature enough and may stay with the group and breed, or establish their own colony.
4. Psittacomys memmina (ptorara)
Range: Mongolia and northern China.
Habitat: dry scrubland.
Size: HBL 30 inches. TL about 24 inches. Weight is about 25 pounds.
Character: This is also a highly social animal. Like other species, they live in large colonies, that may contain as many as 10,000 individuals. They prefer to live in underground burrows. The mounds are the only things that are above ground, and the only indication of their colony. They are diurnal animals, roosting at night in a special roosting burrow. It is special because it is the only burrow, besides the birthing hole, that these animals tend to line with straw. There may be several of these roosting burrows in a colony, where several individuals may huddle together to stay warm at night. They like to feed on grasses, roots, bulbs, tubers, other fungi, flowers, seeds, and any other greenery they can find. They never venture too far from a mound, as this is their primary escape route from predators like civets and Tamanoa. They never need to drink water. They can get all the moisture they need from their food. Males and females stay together for life, and a single female may have as many as 10 babies in one litter. The babies are sexually mature at about 5 months old, and sometimes stay within the parents' colony, or go and establish one of their own.