Thursday, June 16, 2011

Marsh Rice Rat

Oryzomys palustris
The Marsh Rice Rat is one of the most common mammals found near the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. There are around half a dozen different location-based subspecies that ranged from Texas to New Jersey.

Water is of no concern to the Marsh Rice Rat. As the name may suggest, they are right at home in wet and swampy waters. They have water repellent undercoats, are able to dive underwater, and they have been observed swimming distances of up to 300m!

Marsh Rice Rats breed almost year round, and produce litters of up to five offspring who are weaned and on their own in just three weeks. The Rats are prolific opportunistic feeders, snacking on snails, fish, turtles, and bird eggs among other things. Due to their nocturnal nature, however, they are frequently prey for Owls.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Eastern United States
Size : Length 9in (23cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Rodentia
Family : Cricetidae -- Genus : Oryzomys -- Species : O. palustris

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