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Nature Notes - Greater Stick Nest Rat

Features

Greater Stick-nest Rats have yellowish-brown fluffy fur with white markings on their hindfeet. They have large eyes and a blunt snout and rest in a hunched posture.

Adaptations

Greater Stick-nest Rats are nocturnal and build communal nest, to shelter in and hide from predators. They have incisors that constantly grow to enable it to eat hard seeds and carry and chew up sticks for building its nest.

Habitat

When Greater Sick-nest Rats lived on mainland Australia they lived in the desert woodlands.

Range

The only known population of this species now exists on the Franklin Islands.

Wild Status

The Greater Stick-nest Rat is critically endangered as they are extinct on the Australian mainland. Many factors have contributed to their decline including competition from feral cats and foxes, land clearing and the reduction of Aboriginal burning practices.

Diet

The Sticknest Rat is an omnivore; they eat saltbush, leaves, fruits, native grass seeds and larger acacia seeds.

Predators

Predators include feral cats and red foxes, dingoes, owls and eagles.

Home

Communal nests up to 1m and 1.5m in diameter are constructed of woven sticks and branches meticulously chewed to size. A nest of grass is constructed in the centre of the piles and tunnels lead frm this to the permeter. The construction is added to by succeeding generations and very large nests may cntain communities of 10-20 animals.

Life Span

Stick-nest Rats live up to 5 years of age.

Size

They grow to 170-260mm (head and body) and weigh between 290-350g.

Reproduction

Stick-nest Rats are seasonal breeders, they mate in summer and average 2 young. The young stay within range of mother then males disperse at maturity.

Extra Fun Facts

Greater Stick-nest Rats get most of their water requirements through their diet of succulents, leaves, and fruit.

Compare with the Sonoran Desert Pack Rat.