Rattus lutreolus velutinus (Australian Swamp Rat) IUCN Status: Least Concern
Swam rats are a native rodent of Australia. They range from Fraser Island in Queensland down the east coast and around the southern coast to Kangaroo Island. This subspecies is endemic to Tasmania and there is another isolated subspecies in north Queensland around Atherton.
Swamp rats live in a range of wet habitats from the coast up to elevations of 1600m. They form extensive tunnel systems beneath dense vegetation allowing them to be active by both day and night. Grasses and seeds make up most of their diet, though they will take insects opportunistically.
Like all rodents, they breed prolifically. They are seasonal breeders from September through March. Hitting sexual maturity in only three months, females from the first litter of the season can be breeding in that same season. Three to five young are born per litter. Life expectancy is about eighteen months. Interesting trivia
- The teeth of the individuals in a certain area change based on the diet they mainly feed on. In fact, in one spot this occurred over a period of about 100 years after human settlement changed the available food sources.
- When born the young weight around 5g and just over 40mm long.
- Although sometimes confused with water rats (*cough cough*) swamp seem to avoid swimming, preferring to stay dry if possible.