Antechinus and swamp rat

Friend Prue has kindly sent me photos of a couple of her native neighbours – the antechinus and the swamp rat. This antechinus is the yellow-footed or brown or dusky species. All three species live in her area of the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. They are common along the east coast of Australia, including Tasmania.


Yellow-footed or brown or dusky antechinus (photo by Prue Gargano)

The antechinus (15 species endemic to Australia) is a small, fast-moving, carnivorous marsupial, possibly most famous for its reproductive style. Each female breeds only once, most dying after the weaning of the litter (usually eight babies, but can be four or ten depending on the number of teats); the males have a prolonged breeding frenzy that leads to their dying en masse after mating.


Swamp rat, Rattus lutreolus (photo by Prue Gargano)


The Atlas of Living Australia says of the swamp rat:

[It] is common over a wide area of south-eastern Australia. … Body up to 20 cm, tail up to 14 cm. … Swamp rats make tunnels through the vegetation [in swamps]. They eat mostly stems of grasses and sedges.

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2 Responses to Antechinus and swamp rat

  1. janebeau says:

    That swamp rat is straight out of Wind in the Willows, isn’t he?

    • Joy Window says:

      I’m probably being pedantic by pointing out that dear Ratty is an English water vole, but they do look like our swamp rats. I guess a cane toad would be Toad but we don’t have otters and moles – perhaps a platypus and a Western Australian marsupial mole as Otter and Mole, and a Tasmania devil as Badger.

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