BUSH RAT

Rattus fuscipes assimilis

The Bush Rat is a small nocturnal mammal, found in coastal areas from Rockhampton through to Victoria.

It is seldom seen in the wild, unless trapped, due to it's 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, shrubs and fallen trees can provide shelter. It's 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 is scarce.

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 it the feet, it's ears are large and rounded.

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 female.

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 unburnt 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 regrowth, 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 then the head and body length. Average weight is 125gram, but populations can vary greatly. Females are usually slightly smaller than males.

 

Living in the bush we see these small mammals on a regular basis, and on occasion recieve them in to care when found as small orphans. They grow fast, so time in care is short compared to a wallaby or possum.

Considering that they are able to breed at 4-5 months old, you would not want to keep them longer than nessesary. Most will however wait till the following spring before breding for the first time. Those that breed will usually die before or as winter approaches. This ensures plenty of food for the new generation the following year.

 

 

 

Reference:

Encyclopedia of Australian Wildlife. Readers Digest 2005 edition

The Australian Museum Complete book of Australian Mammals

 

March 31, 2007

 
 
 

©Wildlife Mountain 2000 - 2017

 

We would also like to acknowledge the amazing support and help we have had from the Lismore Vet Clinic who have been an invaluable support to both us and the native wildlife of this region.


All native birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles are proteced under the Wildlife Act 1975, they may not be captured or harmed in any way without an authority issued under the Wildlife Act.