The Bush Rat is
a small nocturnal mammal, found in coastal areas from Rockhampton through
It is seldom seen
in the wild, unless trapped, due to its preference for dense ground
cover in Eucalypt and rain forests, sub alpine woodland and coastal
scrub. Preference is given to areas where low growing ferns,
and fallen trees can provide shelter. Its diet consists mainly of insects,
but fungi, seeds and vegetation such as roots and plant stems is also
consumed, in fact this mammal will eat anything it can find if food
It spends most
of the time within a burrow, coming out
to forage for food after dark.
It has soft brown
or grey fur, underbelly is much lighter, as is the feet, its ears are
large and rounded. Teeth as the same as feral rats.
Notice the length of toes, three middle back foot toes are same length, this differs from feral rat that has toes that differ in length, image below is of a juvenile bush rat .
Young are born
weighing about 5 gram, and become independent at about 40 gram. Males
and females disperse from the maternal territory to establish small
individual home ranges. 10 individuals may occupy 1 hectare, and it
is not unusual for a male to travel up to 1 km a night foraging for
food. During breeding time, he may travel up to 2 km in search of a
The Bush Rat may
even survive a bush fire as it shelters in burrows or rock crevices
throughout the fire. Coming out after the fire it can survive on un burnt
plants, and new young shoots of plants that emerge shortly after a bush
fire. The population greatly increases 4-5 years after a
fire, due to the lush habitat of rapid re growth, but as the habitat
returns to normal, and the predators return, the population once again
goes back to normal.
Head and body length is 111mm-194mm. Tail
length is usually slightly shorter than the head and body length. Average
weight is 125gram, but populations can vary greatly. Females are usually
slightly smaller than males.
Importance of tree hollows
Encyclopedia of Australian Wildlife. Readers Digest 2005 edition
The Australian Museum Complete book of Australian Mammals
by Susanne Ulyatt & Alicia Carter