TO THE RESCUE: Aussie swamp rats play vital role in nature
DID you know that Australia is home to many species of native rodents like native mice and rat species, some of which are found nowhere else in the world?
The Fraser Coast region has several species of native rodents that occur here, including the Australian Swamp Rat (rattus lutreolus) such as this juvenile one pictured.
This little girl was successfully raised by a permitted wildlife carer, from an eyes closed age orphan, through to release as a sub-adult.
Native Rodents are protected species and play a vital role in nature and a healthy ecosystem, but sadly they are often confused with non-native, aka introduced, feral rodent species such as black rats.
The Fraser Coast is also home to several species of dasyurids, such as antechinus and dunnarts amongst others, which are native carnivorous marsupials, often referred to as 'marsupial mice' - which they actually aren't.
Unfortunately some of these amazing critters also often get mistaken for feral rodents and pests.
Positive identification of native and non-native rodents, can be made by a few key features, however "cuteness level", tail length and face shape are not decisive points for ID.
Each species of rodent has a foot-pad pattern unique to them, tail skin patterning is different between Rodents as well. There are some other specifics which can be utilised to confirm whether a rodent is native or not.
If you find a rodent-like animal (adult or babies) that you are not entirely sure on and would like confirmation about, please contact WRFC 41213146.
To The Rescue is submitted by Wildlife Rescue Fraser Coast and appears monthly in the Hervey Bay Independent.
The next column will run in the September 20 edition.