Field-rat project

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The distribution and ecology of the pale field-rat Rattus tunneyi at Edel Land, Shark Bay


The pale field-rat Rattus tunneyi is one of seven species of native Rattus occurring on the Australian mainland. The species now occurs principally in native tussock grassland habitats in tropical and sub-tropical Australia, having declined from > 85% of its former range. Historic and sub-fossil records suggests that it once occurred through much of arid and semi-arid Australia, but it is now largely absent from these biomes.

One exception to the species’ widespread decline in arid and semi-arid Australia is a small remnant population detected at Edel Land on the southern shore of Shark Bay in Western Australia in the 1960s and 1970s.

WR&M is working with Murdoch University PhD student Sally O’Neill to establish the distribution, habitat preferences, and dynamics of the species at Shark Bay.

Related publication:

Short, J., O'Neill, S., and Richards, J.D.  (2018). Irruption and collapse of a population of pale field-rat Rattus tunneyi at Heirisson Prong, Shark Bay, Western Australia. Australian Mammalogy 40, 36-46.



Pale field-rat being released on Edel Land