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False Water Rat (Xeromys myoides)

False Water 

The False Water Rat

There is very little information on the false water rat; their habitat is not humanly accessible due to the saltwater crocodiles that also live there. False water rats are classified as a “vulnerable species”. The only populations of this species are located on the coasts of Queensland and the Northern Territory. Interestingly enough, the false water rat is really a mouse. The “false” in the common name is attributed to the lack of webbing on the feet which are present on the true water rat.

Nests are made of mud and mangrove leaves far enough away from the water to escape the high tide as the false water rat can not swim. False water rats do prefer to be near a water source, preferably a shallow one.

False water rats have grey coloration on their back and a bright white underbelly. The feet, upper lip and inner ear have a pink hue. There are short claws also present. Average measurements for false water rats are as follows: head and body 100mm, tail 80mm, weight 42g. Long whiskers stick out of the nose. The tail is grey and scaly.

This species is nocturnal (mainly due to the low tide) and likes to find food amongst the mangroves. Crabs are a favorite food for the false water rat; it likes to first remove the limbs of the crab first and then consume the body. Shellfish and worms are also components of the false water rat’s diet that can be found in the mangrove forests. Since the food of the false water rat is found amongst the mangroves, the lifespan of the species is highly dependent on the preservation of the mangrove forests.

Breeding patterns of this species are unknown. 

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A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia, Menkhorst, P. and Knight, F. ©2001.

False Water Rat, Xeromys myoides, Queensland Museum, 8/7/04, http://www.qmuseum.qld.gov.au/features/endangered/animals/water_rat.asp.

False Water Rat, Australian Department of the Environment and Heritege, 8/7/04, http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/information/factsheets/qld2003.html.

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