Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Australian Swamp Rat

Rattus lutreolus
The Australian Swamp Rat is a species that is common throughout its range in south and eastern Australia. They prefer areas of dense vegetation that may or may not be swamp related, so don't let the name fool you! They need for vegetation is twofold; Swamp Rats needs to hide from predators (they even cut complex tunnels in the vegetation!), and the females need enough food to have the energy to reproduce.

Speaking of reproducing... The Australian Swamp Rat breeding season can last the entire year, though spring to autumn is more common. The gestation period lasts only 3-4 weeks, and a female can produce multiple litters during a single season.

And did you know that a female rat born at the beginning of the season can herself breed by the end of it? They reach sexual maturity after less than 3 months, and only have a life expectancy of around 18 months.

Australian Swamp Rats are both nocturnal and diurnal (basically they feed when they want), and they are herbivores that dine on seeds and grasses.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Australia
Size : Body Length up to 8in (20cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Rodentia
Family : Muridae -- Genus : Rattus -- Species : R. lutreolus

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