swamp rat

Rattus lutreolus

The Swamp is native to Australia, it is a cryptic, solitary, diurnal rodent that can swim and climb. It shelters in nests of shredded plant matter, in 1m deep burrows found in tussock grass, logs or tree bases.  It makes tunnels through dense grass, sedge or heath by biting and eating the obstructing plants.

The Swamp rats fur is dark grey to grey-brown with golden tips above, and light grey or buff below. The ears are short and do not reach the eyes when folded forward they can be hard to see as they are almost concealed by the fur. Its tail is shorter than the body length and dark grey with obvious rings of overlapping scales and some hair, and its feet has almost black soles, and it has rodential teeth.

The average weight of the Swamp rat is 55 – 160g

The swamp rat requires specialised habitat, such as swamps, thick vegetation along watercourses and dense island vegetation above the high water mark and may be found in or near coastal swamps, heath-land, sclerophyll forests, rainforests, sedge lands throughout south-eastern Australia. Sadly most of its original habitat has now been farmed and made unsuitable for this species (Strahan 1995)

Stems and leaves are the main foods eaten. In spring and early summer, their diet expands to include seeds, fleshy fruits, and insects. Roots and underground fungi are also consumed

Spring and summer are the main breeding seasons. Females may be sexually mature at 12 weeks, if born early in the season several litters of 3-4 young may be produced. They are weaned at 3-4 weeks of age when they weigh 25-40 g. The young will disperse more than 2 km away to establish their territories.

Life span is approximately 18 months in the wild.