Brush-tailed Rabbit-rat

To: "Philip Veerman" <>
Subject: Brush-tailed Rabbit-rat
From: "Alan Gillanders" <>
Date: Sat, 13 Dec 2014 18:58:36 +1000
The 'rabbit-rats' have broad, blunt faces with large ears and eyes; they are large rats, well worth catching for a meal. It is from these features they get their old English name. A skull, minus incisors is not immediately rat like in appearance.

Hope life is treating you well in 'temperate' Canberra.

Alan's Wildlife Tours
2 Mather Road
Yungaburra 4884

Phone 07 4095 3784
Mobile 0408 953 786
-----Original Message----- From: Philip Veerman
Sent: Friday, December 12, 2014 01:55 PM
To: 'Denise Goodfellow' ; 'Colin Trainor'
Subject: Brush-tailed Rabbit-rat

Well I did not recognise the name at all and knowing of the tendency to use
silly names like marsupial mouse and flying fox for things that they are
not, I wondered if it was like a rabbit or like a rat or neither. I have 3
Aust mammal field guide books. One lists Brush-tailed Rabbit Rat (different
spelling with alternate name Brush-tailed Tree-rat) Conilurus penicillatus.
One lists Conilurus penicillatus as Brush-tailed Tree-rat, which leaves me
wondering at the logic of how "rabbit" substitutes for "tree" or vice versa.
The third does not mention this species but includes another one
White-footed Tree Rat (alternate name Rabbit-Rat). The "Complete book of
Australian mammals" clarified it for me.


-----Original Message-----From: Birding-Aus
 On Behalf Of Denise Goodfellow
Sent: Friday, 12 December 2014 10:47 AM To: Colin Trainor Cc:

Subject: Brush-tailed Rabbit-rat


I have some expertise with small/medium Top End mammals, including
Black-footed Tree-rat, having worked for some decades as a biological
consultant up here.

See my writeup in Fauna of Kakadu and the Top End (1993).


Denise Lawungkurr  Goodfellow
PO Box 71
Darwin River, NT, Australia 0841

PhD candidate, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Founding Member: Ecotourism Australia
Founding Member: Australian Federation of Graduate Women Northern Territory
043 8650 835

On 12 Dec 2014, at 8:58 am, colin trainor <> wrote:

According to the "Action Plan for Australian Mammals" there have been
no confirmed records of Brush-tailed Rabbit-rat in the Greater Darwin
area since 1993, and it is now thought to have been extirpated in
Kakadu Nat Park, with no captures since 2008 despite ongoing

Your observation would more likely to have been the still regionally
extant Black-footed Tree Rat ....


Denise Goodfellow <>


Fri, 12 Dec 2014 02:21:41 +0930

Late one night a couple of weeks ago I saw a Brush-tailed Rabbit-rat
on a
Darwin River road.  There is one other record of what sounds like this
from this area, from a local man.

If any Birding Aussers are in the vicinity of Darwin River could you
please let
me know of any sightings?


Denise Lawungkurr  Goodfellow
PO Box 71

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