September 08, 2009 05:00 PM

And you thought city rats were big – think again! A BBC television crew filming in Papua, New Guinea, has discovered a new species of giant rat that is about the size of a cat and lives deep in the jungle near an extinct volcano.

The massive rodent has no fear of humans, according to the BBC, and measures 32 inches long, making it one of the largest species of rat known anywhere in the world.

“This is one of the world’s largest rats. It is a true rat, the same kind you find in the city sewers,” says Dr. Kristofer Helgen, a mammalogist who joined the BBC team.

The television crew stumbled upon (yikes!) this furry critter as they were filming the TV program Lost Land of the Volcano at the crater of Mount Bosavi. The creature, who is temporarily being called the Bosavi wooly rat until scientists can agree on a name, was first spotted on infrared camera before it was trapped and examined. The animal has a silver-brown coat of long fur and weighed in at 3.3 lbs.!

“I had a cat,” says BBC wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan, “and it was about the same size as this rat.”

See more unusual animals on PEOPLE Pets:
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