Wildlife Matters

The Endangered Black-footed Tree-rat

13 Nov. 2022
Jean-Paul Ferrero/AUSCAPE

One of Australia’s largest native rodents, the Black- footed Tree-rat (Mesembriomys gouldii) weighs almost a kilogram: so big that it competes with Brushtail Possums for tree hollows in which to roost in the eucalypt woodlands of the tropical north. These animals are agile climbers, steadying themselves on broad feet and using their long brush-tipped tail as a balance as they bound among the branches or forage on the ground.

Black-footed Tree-rats are one of Australia’s largest rodents, weighing almost a kilogram. Pictured, a Black-footed Tree-rat perches atop a fallen Pandanus fruit in the Top End. Jean-Paul Ferrero/AUSCAPE
Black-footed Tree-rats are one of Australia’s largest rodents, weighing almost a kilogram. Pictured, a Black-footed Tree-rat perches atop a fallen Pandanus fruit in the Top End.

They eat mostly fruit (especially of Pandanus trees) and large seeds. Distributed in separate populations in the Kimberley, Top End and Far North Queensland, this species has declined severely in recent decades.

 

 

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