The Water-rat is a rodent that lives on water and on land. It shares many of its habits with the platypus. Distinguished by its beautiful coat and white tipped tail, it was once killed for its fur. It inhabits permanent swamps, dams and slow moving creeks, in both fresh and brackish water, building a nest at the end of a tunnel in the bank. It is a powerful swimmer, with webbed hind feet and waterproof fur.
It feeds on plant material, fish, crustaceans, large aquatic insects, frogs, lizards, small mammals and water birds. Piles of old bones and shells can be found on a frequently used eating platform. It is most active in the early morning and late evening. The female produces one to two litters of up to five babies each year.
Size: 345mm, tail 320mm
Illustration: Mark Trinham