Lesser stick-nest rat
|Lesser stick-nest rat|
The lesser stick-nest rat or white-tipped stick-nest rat (Leporillus apicalis) lived in southern inland Australia. It accumulated large mounds of sticks to construct its nests, which were up to three metres long and a metre high. It was easily tamed, sometimes climbing onto tables to get sugar. It was also eaten by people. The last capture was filmed on 18 July 1933, when the stick-nests were set alight. The specimens are held in the South Australian Museum. The rat may have declined from competition with cattle and sheep. There is a possibility that a lesser stick-nest rat was seen in a cave in Western Australia in 1970.
2008 IUCN change of status
The 2008 release of the updated IUCN status for the lesser stick-nest rat, has interestingly "downgraded" their status from extinct to critically endangered (possibly extinct), owing to the very slight possibility that a very small population may still exist in yet to be surveyed remote lands of the Australian interior.
On the site, the reasoning is "Listed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) because, although there are no confirmed reports of this species since 1933, there is a reliable record from 1970 and continued, occasional reports of fresh vegetation being added to old stick-nests. Much of this species' range is in remote portions of central Australia, which have not been fully surveyed. This species is probably extinct, but if it does persist its numbers would almost certainly be very small."
- Flannery, Tim & Schouten, Peter (2001). A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World's Extinct Animals. Atlantic Monthly Press, New York. ISBN 0-87113-797-6.
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