The bush rat (Rattus fuscipes) is a small Australian nocturnal animal. It is one of the most common indigenous species of rat on the continent, found in many heathland areas of Victoria and New South Wales.
Nocturnality is an animal behavior characterized by being active during the night and sleeping during the day. The common adjective is "nocturnal",...
An omnivore is an animal that has the ability to eat and survive on both plant and animal matter. Obtaining energy and nutrients from plant and ani...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
A burrow is a hole or tunnel excavated into the ground by an animal to create a space suitable for habitation, temporary refuge, or as a byproduct ...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
Nomadic animals regularly move to and from the same areas within a well-defined range. Most animals travel in groups in search of better territorie...
A fossorial animal is one adapted to digging which lives primarily but not solely, underground. Some examples are badgers, naked mole-rats, clams, ...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
Bush rats have soft and dense fur which is grey-brown and red-brown with light grey-brown underparts. The tails of these animals are brown, grey, or black and are always slightly shorter than the body. The feet can be white, pink, grey, or brown and the hindfeet of Bush rats are often darker that the forefeet. Males in this species are larger than females.
Bush rats are found primarily in the coastal regions of southwestern Australia. They mainly occur in the lowlands but can also be found in parts of the Australian Alps and on some offshore islands, including Kangaroo Island. Bush rats inhabit coastal scrub and heath, subalpine woodland, eucalypt forest, and tropical moist forest.
Bush rats are rarely seen because of their shy nature and nocturnal behavior. They are not social animals and spend their life alone. Young rats leave their birthplace to find their own small territory for surviving the winter. During spring and summer time they usually travel great distances and males can cover up to a kilometer in one night. Bush rats are terrestrial and prefer areas with dense undergrowth. They construct a burrow that leads down into the nest chamber and is lined with grass and other vegetation. Bush rats tend to avoid areas impacted by humans. When threatened they defend themselves with boxing, threat posture, clash, or approach. In order to communicate with one another Bush rats produce sounds, and use touch, odor, and visual identification.
Bush rats are omnivorous creatures. In the summer they consume primarily fruit, arthropods, and seeds, but in the winter their main source of food is from a particular cyperaceous species. When in the forest Bush rats consume primarily fungi and various fibrous plant materials. They have been even observed feeding on nectar without damaging the blossoms.
Little is known about the mating system in Bush rats. They begin breeding around November. The majority of individuals do not live to a second breeding cycle due to their short life span. Females can have several litters giving birth to 4-5 young per litter. The gestation period varies between 22 and 24 days. Females nurse their young in a burrow for 20-25 days after which pups become independent. They become reproductively mature at around 4 months of age.
Some of the biggest threats to the Bush rat include Red foxes and feral cats, both introduced species. Evidence suggests that the incidence of fire can increase predation of Bush rats due to the removal of undergrowth in which they are usually able to hide
The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the Bush rat total population size, but this animal is common and widespread throughout its known range. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.