Domestication of the grasscutter (also known as cane rat) is becoming a success story in Nigeria, where grasscutter farming has proven to be a profitable business. Because of its tasty meat, appreciated by all, regardless of ethnic origin or religion, grasscutters have been hunted locally to the point of extinction. For that reason, farmers have become interested in raising them in their backyards. Developing techniques for domestication and rearing of some of the heavily hunted wild animal species is a sensible way to produce protein-rich food for increasing human populations.
Grasscutter is capable of reproducing twice a year with litter size varying from two to six. They are primarily vegetarian and can be raised to maturity entirely on fresh grasses. They prefer plants with high moisture content and soluble carbohydrate.
General characteristics
Grasscutters are herbivorous rodents that feed mostly on a wide variety of grasses and drink very little water. They have sharp eyesight, a good sense of smell, are smart, quick and may jump as high as two metres. They are strong and, when caught by the tail, they sometimes rotate vigorously in order to detach it from the body for escape.
Grasscutters are active at night; they are sensitive to wind and dry food, which cause respiratory problems. They do not dig holes but rather use burrows made by other animals. They consume nuts, bark and the soft parts of grasses and shrubs, much preferring elephant grass and sweet potatoes. Read More