Meet 'vika': New 2-pound rat discovered

An illustration of the newly discovered giant tree rat, Uromys vika, known by the locals as "vika."

Story highlights

  • A new species of giant tree rat has been found on Vangunu Island, part of the Soloman islands
  • Researchers were only able to locate one

(CNN)After years of searching, researchers have confirmed the discovery a new mammal in the Solomon Islands: an endangered giant tree rat known as "vika" by the locals. But they were only able to locate one.

The rare animal looks more like a cute cross between a squirrel and a possum than a large rat. Local rumors describe it as a tree-dwelling creature that can crack coconuts open with its two front teeth.
A new study released in the Journal of Mammology on Wednesday includes details and images of the lone vika that researchers were able to observe on Vangunu Island.