General Description

Body fur grey-brown to red-brown, pale grey underneath. Feet pink-white. Tail pink-brown and slightly shorter than length of head and body. Body up to 21 cm; tail up to 20 cm. They can be distinguished from the non-native black rat, by their light pink feet and their relatively short ears and tail. The tail is about equal to the head and body length whereas the tail of the Black Rat is much longer than the head and body.


These are shy rats, moving about at night. They eat plants, seeds, fungi and invertebrates. They make nests in soft soil burrows, rock crevices or fallen logs. They are restricted to native vegetation and avoid areas of human habitation. Bush Rats are close relatives of the Swamp Rat. Both are native to Australia where they have been present for about 1 million years. They are both in the same genus, Rattus, as are the invasive rats, the Black Rat, Rattus rattus.


Southern and eastern mainland Australia.


Range of areas, including coastal scrub, woodland and rainforest; usually avoids urban places.

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