Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Muridae

Scientific Name: Rattus lutreolus
Species Authority: (J.E. Gray, 1841)
Common Name(s):
English Australian Swamp Rat
Taxonomic Notes: The Atherton Tableland populations were described as Rattus lacus, and is likely a distinct species from R. lutreolus (based on morphology; K. Aplin pers. comm.), although there has been no genetic assessment of the status of these populations.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Burnett, S., Menkhorst, P., Ellis, M. & Denny, M.
Reviewer(s): Lamoreux, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team) & Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because the populations are not thought to be undergoing any major declines.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to Australia, where it is distributed in the south-east ranging from Fraser Island southwards to Kangaroo Island. It is also present in Tasmania and the Bass Strait Islands, and there is a disjunct population in north-eastern Queensland, between the Atherton Tableland and Paluma. Sea level to 1,600 m asl is the elevational range.
Countries occurrence:
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1600
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is common and locally abundant.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is largely associated with wetland habitats on the Australian mainland, but in Tasmania it is found in a broader range of habitats including alpine areas, wet sclerophyll forest, buttongrass moorland and temperate moist forest (Lunney 2008). It is often found in heath and sedge type habitats (Lunney 2008). Females may give birth to several litters of up to five young per year (Lunney 2008).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Formerly the species declined significantly in response to habitat loss following European settlement of Australia (Lunney 2008). Coastal development may result in some local declines; in north-eastern Queensland the species' habitat (grassy, wet sclerophyll forest) is declining due to inappropriate burning regimes resulting in the replacement of this habitat with rainforest.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is present in several protected areas. Taxonomic work is needed to determine the whether or not the Atherton Tableland populations represent a separate species.

Citation: Burnett, S., Menkhorst, P., Ellis, M. & Denny, M. 2008. Rattus lutreolus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T19343A8859074. . Downloaded on 09 October 2015.
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