Mesembriomys gouldii M: 251-308mm F: 251-290mm
AUSTRALIA HAS tree-rats in the sort of niche squirrels occupy in the Northern Hemisphere.
Weighing up to 830g, the black-footed tree-rat is the largest of them. It is mostly arboreal and builds dens usually in tree hollows, but sometimes also in pandanus crowns and buildings, emitting grumbling and growling threats if its home is approached.
At night this tree-rat has been known to roam up to half a kilometre away from its home den foraging for nuts, fruits and flowers. It also eats termites and other insects and even freshwater mussels.
Although introduced rats can have up to 10 young in a litter, black-footed tree-rats only have 1–3 offspring at a time. These cling tightly to their mother’s teats as she scampers about, running with her or submitting to being dragged along.