The Tenerife giant rat is an extinct species of rodent endemic to the island of Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, Spain. Many remains have been found during archeological digs. Most are remains from the Pleistocene. Radiocarbon dating has placing some of the finds in the late Pleistocene.
Fossilized remains of this animal have been found practically in every part of the island, but especially in deposits in caves or volcanic pipes of the island, where it often appears together with remains of other species such as the giant lizards . In particular, its bony remains have been discovered in large amounts in the deposit of Buenavista del Norte (in the northwest of Tenerife).
Their fossils date back to the Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs. The first fossils were found by the naturalist Telesforo Bravo, from whom the name of the rodent is derived. Biologists Crusafont-Pairo and Petter first described the giant rat in 1964.
The giant rat, along with some other endemic species of the islands, went extinct due to the activities of the initial human colonists (the Guanches), including their introduction of feral cats.
Today, the Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre in Santa Cruz de Tenerife exhibits fossil skulls and bones of this animal, as well as faithful reconstructions. Another giant rat of the Canary Islands was Canariomys tamarani.
The species was a big rat of about 1 kg. It had a cranium that reached up to seven centimeters in length. Including the tail, the rat was over 114 centimeters, making it the largest of its family.