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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 02, 2021

Pale Field Rat: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Read these pale field rat fun facts

Rats are mammals that have been a part of our land and ecosystem for a very long time. But they were always seen as trouble makers who chew through our favorite things, woods, fabric, and whatnot. Rats are not just trouble makers they are fascinating creatures too. While they do not possess exceptional cooking skills as portrayed in the film 'Ratatoullite' they most certainly are intelligent. The Pale field rat species (Rattus tunneyi) is one of such intelligent nocturnal rodents that was placed in the genus tunneyi and family Muridae by Thomas in the year 1904. Their population distribution was previously widespread in north, south, east, western Australian regions. However, in recent times their distribution has become restricted to the Australian mainland. Their subspecies are found in the Australian east coast and surrounding coastal regions.

For more relatable content, check out these gopher facts and nutria facts for kids.

Pale Field Rat Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a pale field rat?

The pale field rat (Rattus tunneyi) is a type of nocturnal rodent belonging to the family Muridae and genus Rattus.

What class of animal does a pale field rat belong to?

The pale field rat species are part of the Mammalia class of the Animalia kingdom.

How many pale field rats are there in the world?

Due to a lack of information on the pale field rat species, the precise numeral value of their density is unavailable. The dwindling population of these Australian inhabitants is regarded to be a source of concern.

Where does a pale field rat live?

The pale field rat location extends from northern Australia to South Australia. This species is endemic to the mainlands of Australia. They inhabit tall grasslands found along the east coast and are found amidst rich foliage in several areas of Western Australia. Subspecies of Rattus tunneyi are found in Queensland. Their subspecies are found in Australian coastal regions.

What is a pale field rat's habitat?

The pale field rat habitat is mainly tall dense grasslands and sandy soil. Woodlands and dense bushes are two other minor habitat areas. After a long and exhausting day, they are found in holes of friable soil surrounded by rich foliage, beside a water supply. This species is quite particular about its habitat, preferring broad wet meadows or turfs inside the monsoon forest. They also love the sugarcane fields in Eastern Australia.

Who do pale field rats live with?

The pale field rat species live together as a group with other fellow rats. They can even be seen mingling with other rat species. However, this is not proven. Runways connecting their local areas with that of other rat species were discovered. In the austral autumn, when the offspring is born they live together as a family.

How long does a pale field rat live?

Rattus tunneyi in a healthy environment will survive up to four or five years. In a poor environment without proper food will only live for a year or two.

How do they reproduce?

The pale field rat species, just like other mammals, reproduce by live-bearing. It produces offspring that may range from 2-11, but the typical litter size is four. The eastern group starts to breed in austral fall. It varies in the northern territory. The group of subspecies belonging to the north reproduces between March and August or northwestern regions of the continent will breed at the last few months of the year. During the breeding season, the oestrus cycle takes place This ensures a reasonably high rate of success and survival. This cycle lasts for about five to six days followed by the gestation period of 21 days. The baby rat is furless and depends on the mother for a few days. In as little as six weeks, young rats attain sexual maturity.

What is their conservation status?

This species was earlier widespread in almost the whole of Australia. Now the population has decreased in several areas and even became extinct in some areas.

Pale Field Rat Fun Facts

What do pale field rats look like?

The rats' description was given by Thomas in 1904. Field rats are mammals that have a round head that gradually narrows as it reaches the mouth. They have round big bulging eyes that are black in color. The fur on the head and back is a mixture of toffee-brown and yellow-brown. The fur present on top of the feet also has a similar hue. In the hind, there is grey hair masked by sandy ochre color hairs. The inner ears, the tip of the nose, and parts of the feet are pale pink. Gray or cream-colored fur covers the belly areas. This medium size rat has a tail shorter than the rest of its body. Their body hair and tail are believed to be 10mm and 80 mm long respectively. There isn't much difference between the young and adult rats. Nine to ten nipples and four pairs of papillae are seen in female rodents.

Rattus tunneyi hs gray-brown, or cream colored hair
*We've been unable to source an image of a pale field rat and have used an image of a brown rat instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a pale field rat, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected] 

How cute are they?

The bulging eyes and long-haired body of this species are incredibly attractive and have the potential to steal your heart.

How do they communicate?

These mammals are often thought to be silent and unsociable creatures. It is, however, the polar opposite. Rats are sociable creatures who interact with one another using ultrasound and pheromones. Their squeaks can be heard occasionally. When they are nervous or feel threatened, they may flick their tail.

How big is a pale field rat?

The body length of Rattus tunneyi is 4.7-8 in (12-19.5 cm). Their tail length is way lesser than the body length. They are 12 times bigger than ground spiders.

How fast can a pale field rat move?

The pale field rat Rattus tunneyi is pretty quick and can move at a speed of 9 mph (4m/s). These rodents are very active in local habitats.

How much does a pale field rat weigh?

The weight of this species is between 1.7-7.4 oz. (50-210 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

They do not seem to have any sex-based names. They are commonly addressed as the pale field rat male and pale field rat female.

What would you call a baby pale field rat?

Juvenile rats do not have any specific names. They are either called the pale field rat baby or young rat.

What do they eat?

The pale field rat diet mainly consists of grass, roots stems, and seeds. They are also seen eating subsurface foods. One of the main reasons for death in this rat species is predation. They are constantly preyed on by feral cats and occasionally by birds like hawks, falcons, and owls.

Are they dangerous?

Rats in general are considered carriers of diseases and can spread viruses like the salmonella, leptospirosis, and Hantavirus. Besides, they can contaminate human food. They are also known to bite and scratch people. However, this species doesn't bite unless threatened.

Would they make a good pet?

This nocturnal species is calmer than the others. They don't require as much attention as Siberian huskies do. Other rats may be required to keep these low-maintenance pets company. They are a good option for a pet.

Did you know...

The Rattus tunneyi was recognized as a harmful pest in Queensland because it destroyed several matured trees, plantation crops, and agricultural plant roots.

Their sub fossil deposits found in caverns are used in their study.

The Rattus tunneyi population in western Australia plummeted dramatically in the early 2000s. This was due to a large amount of trapping.

These rat species are intelligent enough to make runways in agricultural fields and grasslands without getting caught.

Are pale field rats endangered?

The conservation status of the Pale field rat as per the IUCN Red List as Least Concern. They aren't endangered however their former range has faced a decline of more than 80%. Their population is now restricted and only found in the mainland of Australia. Specific regions of the northern territory, South Australia and Western Australia are experiencing minor-mid range regional extinction

What adaptations do pale field rats have?

There isn't much information available on the adaptations of this species as it has not yet been studied in detail.

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 gerbil facts and black rat facts pages.

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

*We've been unable to source an image of a pale field rat and have used an image of a brown rat instead as the main image. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a pale field rat, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected] 

Main image and second image by Zeynel Cebeci.

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