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CHUBBY CHEEKED AND DOWNRIGHT ADORABLE – RARE NATIVE BROAD TOOTHED RATS FOUND IN THE OTWAYS

September 8, 2023

As part of the Australian Government’s Wild Otways Initiative, ecologists from Barbara Wilson Pty Ltd and researchers from Zoos Victoria went searching for Broad toothed rats in the Otways.  

They were recently discovered near Healesville by the team at Zoos Victoria, and in exciting news… we can now confirm that populations of broad toothed rats have been found along the Great Ocean Road!

Whilst house mice and black rats have given rodents a bad name, there are over 50 species of native rodents in Australia. Native rodents are nature’s gardeners. As they dig through soil searching for food, they distribute seeds and fungal spores.

The broad toothed rat is an endangered native mammal with fluffy round ears, chubby cheeks and chocolate coloured fur. They get their name from the large teeth they use to chew through the grasses and sedges they eat and create tunnel systems and nests in.

Barbara Wilson Pty Ltd created an Otway-specific management plan for this species and five other native mammals that can be found on the Wild Otways Initiative’s web portal via the CCMA website: Otways.ccma.vic.gov.au.  

Corangamite CMA's Jessica Miller, Manager of Environmental Programs said, " Knowing where endangered species occur gives land managers the best chance of protecting and enhancing their habitat”.  

“The distribution of broad toothed rats has been shared amongst land managers of the region and will help guide planned burning operations, pest predator management and revegetation projects. This is an exciting finding for our region, Ms Miller continued.

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