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Rakali

Hydromys chrysogaster

Description:

I was searching for platypus, but instead, had my first encounter with Hydromys chrysogaster, commonly known as the water-rat. It is an Australian native, semi-aquatic rodent, and the indigenous name "rakali" was adopted to foster a positive public attitude towards the species. They can weigh up to 1.3 kilograms - as big as a medium-sized platypus, and will eat just about anything they can get their nimble paws onto. Predation on rakali mostly from hawks, eagles, snakes, quolls, large fish, and feral cats, although humans have been the greatest predators of all. Hydromys is a genus of rodents in the subfamily Murinae. Three species are endemic to New Guinea and nearby islands, and a fourth species, the rakali, is found in Australia. PS: Sept 23, 2019 - Rakali have worked out how to kill cane toads. Not just a pretty face, but smart too! Check out this article - https://theconversation.com/eat-your-hea... PPS: Nov 25, 2019 - An amazing encounter - a life-and-death battle between a platypus and rakali - https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/...

Habitat:

Spotted along the banks of the Severn River, Ballandean SEQ. It's a freshwater river, albeit a small one, but is very clean and abundant with food like yabbies and mussels. The steep banks are ideal for burrows, and are well protected by fallen trees, water grasses and other foliage. This is a quiet bushland area with native vegetation.

Notes:

Not the clearest of pics, but I felt fortunate to see this animal hunting in broad daylight - they are mostly nocturnal. For several days I kept finding remnant mussel shells on the river banks, so I knew there was a predatory animal nearby - https://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/18... All I had to do was spot it! PS: An interesting article in one of the Sydney papers - https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslo...

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7 Comments

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 3 months ago

We're doing ok down here at the moment, Tukup. Thanks. Just a lot of anxiety and confusion, and it will have to play itself out before things start looking normal again. As for coral snakes, I've never seen one. Maybe one day I will.

Tukup
Tukup 3 months ago

Thanks for the link on the coral snakes of Australia Neil. I was looking to see if any of my contacts had coral snakes among their spottings. I was amazed to see how few corals are in the data base, and very few within the last 5 years. Most are from non-active members.

Tukup
Tukup 3 months ago

Sounds like Aussies are pretty much like the rest of the world. I am amazed as how fast cell phones have taken hold, even here in the jungle. There is no phone service, but if someone gets to the outside, evidently they spend all their time downloading to their phones, and then everyone gathers around to watch the nonsense he has saved. Nature is sooooooooo much better. Hope you guys are doing well down under. Stay safe.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 3 months ago

Thanks, Mark. It was awesome to research this, and I learnt a few things too. Most Aussies have their faces stuck to their phones and tablets.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 3 months ago

Excellent Neil. Good to see one of our own native ratties. Most Aussies don't even know about them.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 3 months ago

Thanks, Tukup. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simoselaps... for the coral snakes. And I remember this spotting very well. I was in search of a platypus and stumbled across a rakali instead. A first for me so very exciting.

Tukup
Tukup 3 months ago

Just perusing my contacts for coral snakes. I understand there is at least one in Australia. This is an amazing shot. Thanks for the photo and the notes Neil

Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

Queensland, Australia

Spotted on Jul 25, 2017
Submitted on Dec 10, 2017

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