Fawn-footed Melomys

Melomys cervinipes

The Fawn-footed melomys is a species of rodent found only in Australia; it is a small to medium sized nocturnal rodent native to the East coast of Qld and Northern NSW of Australia. It may be found in rainforest habitat and moist lantana, bracken, creek verges, can also occur in disturbed areas (forest edges) and has been located in grasslands and cane fields.

 

The Fawn-footed melomys body length is 114mm; tail length 160mm; weight 40-90g. Colour is variable, russet-brown to brownish-grey on the upper body, with a white belly and feet.

The tail is longer than head-body length and made up of tiny, interlinking scales that are arranged like mosaics.

Scats of Melomys are very small, knobbly and mouse-like (5 mm long by 2 mm wide).

The Fawn-footed melomys is nocturnal and partly arboreal.

Fawn-footed melomys are primarily herbivorous, feeding on leaves, seeds, fruits and flowers. They are adapted to climbing rainforest trees to search for food. Melomys are important prey items for many rainforest predators, such as sooty owls and pythons. They also play a role in pollination and seed dispersal of rainforest plants.

There is not a lot of information for this species, it is suggested that males and females come together only to mate and occupy separate territories that overlap. As long as food is plentiful young can be born throughout the year.

Gestation is approximately 38-40 days. Females give birth to 1-3 pups, which they raise alone. The young have well-developed incisors at birth, which enable them to cling to the teats. Development is rapid, although dispersal age is unknown.

 Threats to this species include feral and domestic cats as well as land clearing.known.