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The rodent with a taste for seafood

If crab meat, prawns, lobster, shellfish and river views sound like your idea of a good night out. Well, you’re not alone.

Parts of our Sunshine Coast are home to a highly threatened and specialised native rodent – the water mouse Xeromys myoides – that loves eating seafood and living next to coastal wetlands.

This tiny critter is known to build large mounds in mangrove areas for nesting and shelter – like little extravagant apartment blocks that can accommodate a large number of mice.

It also feeds in these areas, particularly in locations with a high density of crab burrows.

Water mouse mound at the Bli Bli Environment Levy reserve    

Council recently found the water mouse during fauna surveys at a new Environment Levy reserve in Bli Bli. This reserve parcel was purchased through the Environment Levy for its conservation values as it provides important habitat for this species and other plants and animals in our region.

The water mouse is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992 as it faces a number of threatening processes.

Threats to the water mouse include habitat destruction and modification, including land reclamation; and water pollution that impacts food resources.

You can help this species by:

  • not taking vehicles into mangrove, saltmarsh and wetland areas;
  • not disturbing known habitat;
  • Reporting any fox activity in these areas to Council;
  • Ensuring pesticides do not enter waterways.

Source: The Mammals of Australia (1995) by R. Strahan and National recovery plan for the water mouse (false water rat) Xeromys myoides (Qld Government 2010).

Top image: Watermouse detected during autumn survey May 2021 at the Bli Bli reserve reproduced with permission from With permission from Wildwise Environmental Services 2021  

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