Swamp Rats
(Rattus Lutreolus)

In early December 2005, while weeding at the back of this raised bed, I found a hole into the mound
with a pile of excavated dirt. The hole was too small for either a wombat or echidna -
too large for a snake (and I don't think they excavate!)
Just before Christmas we saw something outside the window,
eating some of the daily small handful of wild bird seed I put out.
First thought was - horror of horrors - Rattus rattus, but this little creature was quite different,
with a short stubby end tail, small ears, rounded nose and from observation 'stuffable' cheeks.
Gradually I began to notice little runways through the long tussocks of native grasses
plus a few more excavated entries/exits to underground tunnels

It wasn't long before the spasmodic sightings became daily visits.
A new excavation, beneath my prized Banksia blechnifolia appeared to be
the main exit from the tunnel which began at the birdbath.
As their are plenty of tussock grasses between the two points,
some parts of the runs were above ground
and the final exit was through a drain pipe outside our main door.
From the end of the drainpipe, they ran under a large square terra cotta pot
and then out beneath the pot in the above photo.
This became their main refuge
and a point from which to survey if it was safe to venture out into the open
to see if the birds had left any seed behind
We weren't sure if we were watching one rat visiting regularly
or a rostered rat - as there was always only the one
I took so many photos and tried to see if I could identify any differences
but the light conditions changed each day so I was never sure if
what looked like a different colour rat was just a differently lit one!
As long as we were inside the house, they seemed blissfully unaware of our presence
and foraged right up to the window
It has now been over a year since we first became host
to these fascinating creatures
and in spite of some colateral damage to the garden
I do hope they remain