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The African crested rat - also known as the maned rat - is normally a rather unassuming and sluggish creature. However, when threatened the rat pulls it head back into it shoulders and raises a mane of long black and white hairs. Scientists had thought that the animal might be attempting to mimic a porcupine or the skunk-like zorilla to ward off lions, jackals or anything else that wanted to make a meal of it. Nonetheless, the belief that the rat is poisonous is commonplace in Kenya and there is anecdotal evidence that dogs that have tried to take a bite out of one have collapsed and even died.