The Bush rat (Rattus fuscipes) is an Australian native rat. It’s a small, nocturnal animal that nests in dense forests away from cities. Due to its habitat preferences, the bush rat is not that easy to find. In this article, you will get to know the most important facts about the bush rat that will help you identify and understand this species behaviour.
Bush Rat Characteristics:
Scientific name: Rattus fuscipes
Colour: Grey-brown to red-brown, pale grey underneath
Size: From 150mm to 210mm in length (without tail)
Tail length: 140mm to 200mm
Weight: Around 120 grams
Feeding habits: Omnivore
Region: Mainly the coastline of New South Wales, Victoria, South and Western Australia, partially in Queensland.
The Bush rat has some specific features that can help you distinguish it from similar rats.
- It has pointed head and rounded ears.
- Its tail is smaller than the rat's body.
- Another key feature is their front teeth - they are chisel-shaped with hard yellow enamel.
The bush rat prefer woodlands, forests and heath. The dense forests give it good shelter with plenty of rocks and logs to build its nest under. Since bush rats are not that good at climbing, it is less likely to find them in properties in the urban areas.
- Bush rats can start to reproduce when they are around 4 months old.
- The bush rat has a considerably short life, which is around 18 months. This gives it limited time to reproduce and, unlike other similar species, it manages to do it only once.
- The sizes of the bush rat's litter range from 4 to 5 babies. The breeding period normally starts around November.
- The gestation period, on the other hand, varies between 22 and 24 days.
- The mother takes care of the little ones for around 25 days after birth. Then, they become independent.
The bush rat is entirely nocturnal and is active through the entire year. Adults bush rats rarely leave their forest home. They have a diversified diet, depending on the season. In the summer, they feed mainly on fruits, arthropods and seeds. In the winter, however, they consume grass-like plants. They also go after fungi and different plant material.
Bush Rat facts
- Bush rats can be a host for more parasites than any other rodent in Australian.
- This type of rat can feed on nectar without damaging the blossoms.
- The bush rat has its predators in its living environment, such as dingoes, foxes, birds and even reptiles.