Disease vectors: Gambian pouched rats have been linked to several potentially pathogenic zoonoses (diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa) including leptospirosis, bartonellosis, trypanasomiasis and monkeypox. They were introduced into the United States in 2003 via a pet-trade shipment of African rodents (Hutson et al., 2007; Perry et al., 2006; Jenkins, 2007; Smith et al., 2009). The outbreak of monkey pox in 2003 caused the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to impose a ban of Gambian pouched rats as pets in the United States. This restriction was removed in 2008 (FDA, 2008).
Reduction in native biodiversity: Gambian pouched rats may threaten native and endemic fauna in the Florida Keys, including the Key Largo woodrat (Neotoma floridana smalli), Key Largo cotton deermouse (Peromyscus gossypinus allapaticola), Lower Keys marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri), Stock Island tree snail (Orthalicus reses), and silver rice rat (Oryzomys palustris natator) which are listed as 'Endangered or Threatened' by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. (Perry et al., 2006 and references therein). Given their large size, fecundity and omnivorous diet Gambian pouched rats are likely to affect endemic species through increased predation and/or competition with (Perry et al., 2006).
Agricultural: Gambian pouched rats are known to cause substantial losses to food crops in Africa (Fiedler, 1988 in Witmer et al., 2010b). If these largely frugivorous rodents reach the Florida mainland they are likely to affect the Florida agriculture industry (Perry et al., 2006).
No Impact information recorded for Cricetomys gambianus