Article and images by Natural Areas Conservation Officer, Sunshine Coast Council
This rakali, also known as a water-rat, was observed at Meridan Downs Park, Little Mountain. Rakali are Australian native rodents that mostly live around freshwater habitats, plus some estuarine and coastal habitats across northern Australia, down the eastern states into Tasmania, plus south-west Western Australia. Rakali are generally territorial, living in burrows along creek and riverbanks.
They grow approximately 30 cm long and can weigh over 1 kg. Rakali feed upon fish, crustaceans, insects, amphibians, and aquatic plants. They are known to feed upon cane toads, learning to avoid the toads poison glands. Rodents are placental mammals, where Rakali give birth to an average of two litters of up to four young each year.
The conservation status of rakali is “least concern,” however local declines in the species’ populations occur through the process of habitat destruction, plus predation by cats and foxes.