Queensland – Threatened Species Day fact sheet
Environment Australia, 2002
Marine mouse in search of missing mangroves!
False Water Rat
The False Water Rat is actually the only true marine mouse in the world. Its small size, grey fur and white belly make it clearly distinguishable. It is commonly known as the False Water Rat because it is related to the common water rat but lacks webbed claws.
Although not truly aquatic, the False Water Rat lives near shallow water close to the coast. It forages in mangrove forests for small crabs, shellfish and worms. It is usually nocturnal and as the tide recedes, it leaves its nest to forage among mangrove roots, hollow trunks and logs.
The only known False Water Rat populations are in coastal areas of the Northern Territory and Queensland. It is found in coastal wetlands that are associated primarily with mangrove habitat. It forages amongst the mangroves at night when the tide is low, and when the tide rises it returns to the adjacent sedgelands for shelter. The False Water Rat builds large mud nests like termite mounds, up to 60 centimetres high and usually in areas where they can escape the highest of tides. They often use exposed tree roots to form the foundation for the mounds.
False Water Rats have a life cycle that depends on mangrove communities for survival. Mangrove and other coastal wetland communities are widely threatened by development for residential and recreational purposes and to a lesser extent for agriculture and aquaculture. Dingoes, foxes and feral pigs also prey on them.
The Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland was awarded $20,000 from the Threatened Species Network Community Grants to develop a South-east Queensland regional recovery plan for the false water rat. The recovery team is undertaking feral animal control at selected sites.
They are also conducting public seminars to raise community awareness of the False Water Rat and its habitat. This project builds upon some earlier work to survey and monitor the species.
You can help the False Water Rat and other threatened coastal species by:
- taking care when visiting coastal wetlands in Queensland and the Northern Territory to keep your impact to a minimum;
- protecting the habitat of all our native species including the False Water Rat; and
- supporting local efforts to conserve threatened species in your area by joining a local conservation, 'friends' or Bushcare group, or by volunteering for Conservation Volunteers Australia.
For more information for helping threatened species in Queensland, contact the Threatened Species Network Coordinator:
Telephone: (07) 3221 0573
You can also find out more information about Australia's threatened species by calling the Department of the Environment and Heritage's Community Information Unit on free call 1800 803 772 or by visiting the Department of the Environment and Heritage's threatened species web site at www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened
The Angle-stemmed Myrtle is a medium sized bushy tree up to 18 metres tall which was once common in rainforest scrub around Brisbane in South-eastern Queensland. It has smooth, glossy leaves which have a myrtle smell when crushed and can grow up to 6 centimetres long. Not seen for 100 years, this nationally endangered tree was rediscovered in 1986.
Much of the dry rainforest where Angle-stemmed Myrtle grows has been cleared for urban and rural development. Trampling of plants by cattle and people, rubbish dumping, and competition from weeds and native vines prevent new plants from growing. Community groups are helping by protecting new seedlings from cattle grazing and undertaking weed control.
A recovery plan has been put in place to help ensure the survival of the Angle-Stemmed Myrtle. The recovery team has been successful in propagating and planting 213 trees into new and existing sites. This has brought the total number of individuals in the wild up to 285, from an existing 73 naturally grown trees.
The recovery plan for the Angle-Stemmed Myrtle can be found on the Department of the Environment and Heritage web site at: www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/a-gonoclada/index.html