Nature conservation

Threatened species

White-footed Tree-rat - profile

Indicative distribution


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known
predicted
The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Conilurus albipes
Conservation status in NSW: Presumed Extinct
Commonwealth status: Extinct
Profile last updated: 07 Sep 2017

Description

The White-footed Tree-rat, also known as the White-footed Rabbit-rat, was an attractive squirrel-like rodent. It had a combined head and body length of 23–26 cm and a tail length of 22–24 cm. Its weight was estimated at around 200 grams. The species' most distinctive feature was its long, bushy tail, which was dark brown above and white below. Although smaller than a rabbit, the White-footed Tree-rat's colour and large, broad ears gave it a superficial resemblance to this species.

Distribution

The White-footed Tree-rat was endemic to Australia. Pleistocene and recent fossils from cave deposits indicate the species were distributed in south-eastern South Australia, southern Victoria, eastern New South Wales and southern Queensland. Although the species was widely distributed, it was not abundant in numbers. This species is presumed to be extinct, however it is not known exactly when the last populations died. The White-footed Tree-rat was reported as being common in Victoria in 1846, but its population appeared to decline rapidly and has not been recorded since approximately 1860 in this stateThe last specimen near Sydney was recorded in 1845, however some sightings were reported in 1857 and perhaps as late as the 1930s.

Habitat and ecology

  • The White-footed Tree-rat was known to inhabit open forest woodlands and grassy ecosystems in Victoria. Habitat information is not known for other states in which the species occurred.
  • The species was nocturnal had been observed sleeping in the hollow limbs of prostrate trees, or in hollow branches of large Eucalypts near the ground.
  • There is very little information on the life cycle of the White-footed Tree-rat. One report recorded a female with several young in a hollow log, which they had stuffed, to a depth of about 60 cm, with nesting material made of leaves and possibly grass. The mother carried her young attached to her teats.


Threats

Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region