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Black-footed tree-rat facts for kids

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Black-footed tree-rat
Black-footed Tree-rat.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification

Hapalotis hirsutus Gould, 1842

The black-footed tree-rat also known as Djintamoonga (Mesembriomys gouldii) is one of two endemic arboreal rat species from the genus Mesembriomys found in the northern regions of Australia.

The species is one of the largest murids found in Australia.


The tree rat has a greyish-brown coat that is shaggy and coarse and has a creamy white underbelly. The hind feet are black with well developed pads and strong sharp claws. They have large ears and a long tail with a brush of white hair at the tip. They grow to a mass of 830 grams (29 oz). The height of the rat is typically 250 to 310 millimetres (9.8 to 12.2 in) with a length of 320 to 420 millimetres (13 to 17 in).


The tree rat is solitary and nocturnal, it is arboreal sheltering in tree hollows and pandanus stands during the day.


It is a folivore and frugivore and its diet may be supplemented by invertebrates such as termites and molluscs.


Mesembriomys gouldii has a range extending from the savannahs of Cape York Peninsula in Queensland westward to the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Habitats such as tropical woodlands or open forest are suitable for the tree rat. It is not commonly found across the area and the population has been reduced between 30 and 50% in the last decade. The estimated population is 30,000.

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