Water Mouse

Water Mouse

Xeromys myoides

Other Names:

False Water Rat.

Identification:

Body length 100 mm; tail length 80 mm; weight 40 g. Small, size of a large mouse; silky, slate-grey back and pure white belly; short tail with sparse hairs, lacks white tip. White spots on backs of adults.

Habitat and Range:

Intertidal sedgeland zones adjacent to mangrove forests, also freshwater swamps and reedy lakes close to foredunes. Bribie I., Pumicestone Passage, Donnybrook, Beerwah, North and South Stradbroke Is., Pimpama and Coomera Rivers. One of Brisbane's rarest mammals and one of Australia's rarest rodents. Distribution elsewhere is not fully known; occurs in NT and then patchy distribution from Mackay, Qld, south to NSW border.

Notes:

Active at night. Known to eat crabs, shellfish, mud lobsters and marine flatworms. Constructs ‘white ant’ (termite) mounds of peat and mud up to 60 cm high. Rarely climbs; has been seen swimming in the wild, but does not pursue an active aquatic lifestyle. Similar to Grassland Melomys.

Threats:

Direct or indirect interference with mangroves, swamps and freshwater lakes.

Traces:

Large cylindrical droppings, ends rounded, often in threes connected by hair, smelly, (11 mm long by 4 mm wide). Large mud nest structures in sedgeland. Feeding scraps (crab and mud lobster shell fragments) at the hollow bases of mangrove trees.

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