SPECIES: Mastacomys fuscus mordicus — Broad-toothed Rat
It has been dubbed the Australian native ‘guinea pig’, and it’s not hard to see why. The Broad-toothed Rat is a chubby-cheeked rodent with a short, wide face, a stocky body and a short tail, and is apparently gentle in demeanour. They are found only in the south-eastern parts of Australia and in a small section in western Tasmania.
Their preference is grasslands and forests, not overrun with shrubs, but with just enough covering to shield them from predators and the elements. They build complex runways within the dense vegetation, huddling together in nests of grass in winter for warmth. Usually of a nighttime they will pop to the surface and scour for something to eat – with not much variety – living off grass, seeds and moss spore cases.
Loss of habitat and fragmentation, predation, fire and being mistaken for vermin species are but a few threats facing this dear little guinea pig. We mean Broad-toothed Rat.
Photo: Magnus Kjaergaard