Australian Water Rats
Australian water rats or beaver rats (Hydromys chrysogaster Geoffroy, 1804) are rodents which inhabit lakes and rivers; they are streamlined, they have waterproof fur and webbed hindfeet. They are nocturnal, carnivorous and feed mainly on crabs, mussels and fish (Troughton 1941, Barrow 1964), which they take to a place outside the water for eating. Not much is known about other behaviour, neither social nor diving and foraging (McNally 1960, Peterson 1965). Only reproductive biology has been studied intensively due to fur farming (Olsen 1982). However, water rats are described to be highly adaptive to foraging requirements (Fleay 1964, Gardner and Serena 1994, Serena 1994) and therefore they seem to be ideal small mammals to study combined diving and foraging questions in the laboratory.
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