Water mouse (False water rat) | Redland City Council

Water mouse (False water rat)

Scientific name: Xeromys myoides


  • Queensland: Vulnerable (NCA 1992)
  • National: Vulnerable (EPBCA 1999)

What do they look like?

This small rodent has a head to body length of 72-126mm with a very finely ringed 85-100mm tail. Characterised with only two molars in each row, the juvenile Water Mouse has a sleek, dense coat which is slate-grey above and white below but as they grow the fur on top can become grey-brown.

Where do they live?

The Water Mouse (or False Water Rat) has been recorded in saline and coastal freshwater habitats in the Northern Territory and Queensland, specifically distributed in coastal areas from Round Hill Head in north to South Stradbroke Island on the Gold Coast, Great Sandy Strait and Moreton Bay, Fraser Island, Russell and North and South Stradbroke Islands in the Redlands.

What do they eat?

The Water Mouse preys on a variety of crustaceans, marine flatworms, snails and molluscs in the tidal zone, thus they are almost entirely reliant on mangrove habitat. However, little is known on the ecology of this species in freshwater environments.

What is threatening them?

  • Introduced feral mammals
  • Habitat degradation
  • Urban sprawl and its impacts
  • Sea level rise and impacts of climate.

Conservation actions

The Water Mouse is protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. It is an offence to damage or interfere with the Water Mouse in any other way than when accepted by the Act.

Redland City Council manages environmental pests throughout the Redlands to minimise their impact on native ecosystems and animals such as the Water Mouse.

Did you know...?

Water Mice don't have webbed feet like other water rats, which gives them their other name False Water Rat.

Their nests are very similar to termite mounds, made of leaves and mud and may be as high as 60cm.

Report your sighting

If you have seen or suspect you have seen a water mouse, please report it to Atlas of Living Australia.