17 Australian Swamp Rat Facts You’ll Never Forget

Australian swamp rat facts are interesting.

Are you fascinated by rodents, like rice rats? Here we have all the information about the Australian swamp rat. Australian swamp rat (Rattus lutreolus) or eastern swamp rat is a species of native Australian rat. They belong to the Animalia kingdom, phylum Chordata. They can mostly be seen living around wet habitats, but their ability to live without free water means that they can live in dry habitats as well. This is an amazing little rat species that can be seen in abundance throughout its habitat range. These rats have a body length of about 4.8-8 in (12.1-20.3 cm). Most of the body is covered with dark gray-colored fur, other than the ventral side. This ventral or underside of the body has cream to brown fur. The tail is dark gray-colored. These rats mainly feed on fruits, seeds, and stems. However, if there is a scarcity of food, they also eat insects and fungi.

Read on to know more about the Australian swamp rat, and if you like this article, then also check out long-haired rat and harvest mouse.

Swamp Rat

Fact File

What do they prey on?


What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

4 oz (113.3 g)

How long are they?

4.8-8 in (12.1-20.3 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Grayish-brown to dark gray and cream

Skin Type


What are their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Coastal heath, dune scrub, sedges, dry ridges of open woodlands







Scientific Name

Rattus lutreolus





Australian Swamp Rat Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Australian swamp rat?

Australian swamp rat is a species of rat or rodent.

What class of animal does an Australian swamp rat belong to?

The Rattus lutreolus, Australian swamp rat, species belongs to the genus Rattus and class Mammalia of animals. They belong to the Animalia kingdom, phylum Chordata.

How many Australian swamp rats are there in the world?

The exact population of the Australian swamp rat is not known, but they are known to be common amongst mammals of Australia. However, the population of these rats is showing a decreasing trend within their habitat range, which can become worrisome.

Where does an Australian swamp rat live?

Australian swamp rats (Rattus lutreolus) are native to Australia. Primarily it can be seen in the southeastern part of the country, from Kangaroo Island to Fraser Island in the north, along with Bass Strait Islands and Tasmania. However, a subspecies of the animal can also be seen in the northeastern coast, in Queensland.

What is an Australian swamp rat's habitat?

The primary Australian swamp rat habitat has been seen to be the wetland habitat range. They live in coastal heath, dune scrub, or sedges. The species is known to be able to live without free water, so sometimes they can also be found living around dry ridges of open woodlands. The most necessary factor of these rats for choice of habitat has been seen to be the density of vegetation.

Who do Australian swamp rats live with?

Australian swamp rats (Rattus lutreolus) are not known to be social. Females show territorial behavior towards males, so most of the time, both sexes are known to keep away in their own territories. They only come together during the breeding season.

How long does an Australian swamp rat live?

The rats of this species don't have a long lifespan. The Australian swamp rat lifespan is only about two years or so.

How do they reproduce?

This species is known to breed throughout the entire year, but mainly the breeding season can be seen around early spring to autumn. Females reach sexual maturity at a pretty quick rate, within 79-90 days of age. Females are rather aggressive towards males, except during the breeding season. Not much is known about the courtship behavior of the species. After mating, the gestation period lasts for about 21-27 days. At the end of it, the female gives birth to three to five pups.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the Australian swamp rats (Rattus lutreolus) according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature is listed as Least Concern. The major threat the species is facing within their geographical range is habitat loss.  

Australian Swamp Rat Fun Facts

What do Australian swamp rats look like?

The eastern swamp rat (Rattus lutreolus) is a small-sized animal. These rats have an overall gray body. The upper side of the body has grayish-brown fur to dark gray-colored fur, while the underside of the body is cream to brown-colored. The tip of the fur has a golden tint. The ears of the rats are short and stay almost hidden by the hair. The tail of these rats is scaly and sparsely-haired and the fur is dark gray-colored.

Australian swamp rats are native to Australia.
*Please note that this is not an image of the Australian swamp rat, but a picture of another species of the same genus, the brown rat. If you have an image of the Australian swamp rat please let us know at

How cute are they?

These rats may look cute to some people. They have not been known to act aggressively towards humans or towards animals in general, other than to others of their species.

How do they communicate?

Rats, in general, communicate visually, vocally, and chemically. They secrete pheromones which help them communicate with each other. Otherwise, they make a low-frequency ultrasonic sound to express discomfort or pain, and make a high-frequency sound to express when they are ecstatic.

How big is an Australian swamp rat?

Australian swamp rats (Rattus lutreolus) are about 4.8-8 in (12.1-20.3 cm) in body length. However, the tail length of these rats is about 2.2-5.8 in (5.5-14.7 cm). These rats are slightly bigger than kangaroo rats. Kangaroo rats grow up to be about 3.7-6.6 in (9.3-16.7 cm) in length.

How fast can an Australian swamp rat run?

The speed at which an Australian swamp rat runs is not known. However, rats, in general, are known to be able to run at a maximum speed of 8 mph (12.8 kph).

How much does an Australian swamp rat weigh?

This species of rats are small-sized animals. They weigh only about 4 oz (113.3 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males of the species are known as bucks. The parent and pregnant females of the species are known as dams, and females that have not mated are known as does.

What would you call a baby Australian swamp rat?

A baby Australian swamp rat (Rattus lutreolus) is known as a kitten or a pup.

What do they eat?

Like woodrats and many other species of rats, Australian swamp rats are also omnivorous in feeding behaviour, but their primary food choice lies in plant-based foods. They mainly feed on leaves, seeds, roots, stems, or fruits. When there's a scarcity of these foods, these rats feed on insects, worms and fungi.

Are they dangerous?

These rats are not known to be dangerous. They also don't show any aggression towards other humans. However, many species of wild rats are known to carry diseases, so it's better to stay away from them.

Would they make a good pet?

Unlike hamsters, rats, in general, are not the first choice as pets for many people. Some rats are bred in captivity and they can live with humans. However, wild rats, like Australian swamp rats can carry diseases that can be harmful to humans. Hence, they are not kept as pets.

Did you know...

Before the end of the 18th century, the aboriginal people of Australia used to hunt the Rattus lutreolus, Australian swamp rat for food. However, that has ceased today.

How high can Australian swamp rats jump?

It's not known exactly how high Australian swamp rats can jump. However, rats, in general, can jump about 3 ft (1 m) high, and progress about 4 ft (1.2 m) distance in one leap.

Australian swamp rat's sleep and shelter

These rats look for shelter in a place with dense vegetation. This is for two purposes; one is to avoid predators, another is for females to reproduce at a proper place where there is an abundance of food. It can be assumed that these rats sleep in these places as well.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these gopher facts and eastern harvest mouse facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable long eared jerboa coloring pages.

*Please note that this is not an image of the Australian swamp rat, but a picture of another species of the same genus, the black rat. If you have an image of the Australian swamp rat please let us know at



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