While shopping a Laotian food market, Wildlife Conservation Society member Robert Timmons discovered a new species of rodent … about to be grilled as a kebab. Apparently the rock rat — or more officially, the stone-dwelling puzzle-mouse — was “for sale on a table next to some vegetables.”
It seems the locals have enjoyed rock-rat kebabs for years, unaware of the fact that the animal would be considered “a major zoological find” by geeky mammalogists the world over. Known as a kha-nyou to Laotians, the 16-inch rodent is usually roasted whole. “You then eat them, crunching up the smaller bones and spitting out the larger ones,” Timmons says. “Rats, squirrels, and porcupines are an everyday food item, so the kha-nyou fits right in.” Yum.