Australian swamp rat

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Australian swamp rat
Rattus lutreolus - Gould.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Muridae
Subfamily: Murinae
Genus: Rattus
Species: R. lutreolus
Binomial name
Rattus lutreolus
(Gray, 1841)

The Australian swamp rat -- also known as the Eastern swamp rat[1] (Rattus lutreolus) -- is a species of rat found near the coast of south and eastern Australia. It occurs in lowland country from Fraser Island down the coast of New South Wales and Victoria to the Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia. A subspecies velutinus can be found in Tasmania, and another subspecies lacus lives in isolated patches of high altitude rainforest near Atherton, Queensland.

The swamp rat grows to have a body length of approximately 160 millimetres (6 in) with a tail length of approximately 110 mm (4.3 in) and a mass of about 120 grams (4 oz). It has a stocky build with black-brown fur and black feet.[2] Its ventral surface is cream to brown color and it has small ears nearly concealed by hair. The tail is dark grey, scaly and sparsely haired.[3]

The preferred habitat of the swamp rat is thick vegetation along watercourses and in swamps. Dense vegetation of islands above the high water mark is also suitable.[2] They can also live in area of coastal heath, dune scrub, grasslands and sedgelands. The rats will form tunnels through the vegetation through which they can move. Area prone to fire tend not to be recolonised.[4]

Behavior is partly nocturnal and diurnal so it is active during the day and at night. The diet is vegetarian;[4] consisting of reeds, seeds and swamp grass stems.[2]

The swamp rat can be seen at places like the Healesville Sanctuary, where they live in the grounds.


  1. ^ "Australian Swamp Rat". State of Victoria (Department of Education). 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Swamp Rat - Rattus lutreolus". Queensland Museum. 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  3. ^ Cindy Felcher (1999). "Rattus lutreolus - Australian swamp rat". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Rattus lutreolus (J.E. Gray, 1841) - Swamp Rat". Atlas of living Australia. Global Biodiversity Information Facility. 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2015.