Friday, 28 March 2014

BOOK 1 - MATILDA the Water Mouse. Is she really a False Water Rat

Magnificent Matilda's Story

Matilda the Water Mouse lives in the Wetlands on Bribie Island in Queensland, Australia. The Island is a beautiful place near a city called Brisbane. Matilda lives near the Pumicestone Passage where there is lots of water. Matilda doesn’t like the water and she wears a bright pink lifesaver around her waist just in case she sinks, when swimming. Matilda also has a beautiful silky coat which she doesn’t like to get wet. She has little eyes and is short sighted but Matilda has a long nose and long black whiskers which stop her bumping into things.

Matilda likes to go out at night but one morning she woke up and decided she wanted to explore the other side of the Island and then the adventure begins.

Amazing Facts

Water Mouse  = False Water Rat

The name of the False Water Rat is misleading – it is not truly aquatic, and it is actually a mouse! Its small size, dark grey fur and white belly make it clearly distinguishable. Although not truly aquatic, the False Water Rat lives near shallow water close to the coast. It forages in mangrove forests for small crabs, shellfish and worms.

What is its habitat?

The only known False Water Rat populations in Australia are in coastal areas of the Northern Territory and Queensland. It is found in coastal wetlands such as lagoons, swamps and sedged lakes close to fore dunes. It forages amongst the mangroves at night when the tide is low, and when the tide rises it returns to the adjacent sedgelands for shelter.
The False Water Rat builds large mud nests like termite mounds, up to 60 centimetres high and usually in areas where they can escape the highest of tides. They often use exposed tree roots to form the foundation for the mounds.

Why is it threatened?

False Water Rats have a life cycle that depends on mangrove communities as well as a range of other wetland communities for survival. Mangrove and other coastal wetland communities are widely threatened by development for residential and recreational purposes and to a lesser extent for agriculture and aquaculture. Loss of mangroves means loss of habitat for the false water rat.

Ref: Aust Govt Dept of Environment

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