Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

The Diets and Dietary Preferences of Rattus-Fuscipes and Rattus-Lutreolus at Walkerville in Victoria

DC Cheal

Australian Wildlife Research 14(1) 35 - 44
Published: 1987


The diets of Rattus fuscipes and R. lutreolus from a site in central southern Victoria were investigated by faecal analysis. R. lutreolus was predominantly herbivorous; in heath it selected the basal stems of certain cyperaceous herbs, and in forest it ate non-sclerophyllous grasses. Fungi were an important dietary component and seed might be eaten in some quantity for a short time in spring and early summer. R. fuscipes showed little dietary overlap with R. lutreolus; in forest it was reliant on fungi and fibrous plant material from particular grasses; in heath it relied on particular cyperaceous species in winter, and ate primarily fleshy fruit, seed and arthropods in summer. Dietary preferences are compared with the relative abundance of diet items in the habitat. Both species are selective, and this selectivity changes with season. The effects of the availability of preferred diet items on the species' distributions are discussed.


© CSIRO 1987

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