Central Rock Rat (Zyzomys pedunculatus)

The Central rock rat (Zyzomys pedunculatus), also known as the central thick-tailed rock-rat, Macdonnell Range rock-rat, Australian native mouse, rat à grosse queue (French), or rata coligorda (Spanish), is a fascinating species of rodent belonging to the family Muridae. This unique mammal possesses a range of distinctive characteristics that set it apart from other species and contribute to its ecological significance.


Rock mouse perched on a moss scours the rocky surface
wirestock / Envato

The Central rock rat is a medium-sized rodent with a robust build and a distinctive thick tail, which is a notable feature that distinguishes it from other rodent species. It has a compact body, small rounded ears, and a pointed snout, giving it an appearance that is both endearing and distinctive. The fur of the Central rock rat is typically a mix of brown and grey, providing effective camouflage in its rocky habitat.


Rock mouse on the ground
AlbertoCarrera / Envato

One of the most striking features of the Central rock rat is its thick tail, which sets it apart from other rodents. The tail is notably larger and more robust compared to other rat species, and it serves as an adaptation for balance and stability in its rocky habitat. Additionally, the compact body and small rounded ears contribute to its unique appearance, making it easily distinguishable from other rodent species.


Rock mouse on a tree trunk
CreativeNature_nl / Envato

The Central rock rat is native to Australia, specifically inhabiting rocky outcrops, mountainsides with loose stones, hilly grasslands, and low open shrublands or woodlands. Its distribution is primarily concentrated in central Australia, particularly in the MacDonnell Ranges and surrounding areas. The population density of the Central rock rat is notably influenced by the availability of suitable rocky habitats, and its distribution pattern reflects its preference for these unique environments.

Habitat Preferences

The Central rock rat thrives in rocky habitats, including rocky outcrops, cliffs, scree slopes, and rocky mountainsides. These environments provide the species with shelter, protection, and access to suitable food sources. The rocky terrain also offers the Central rock rat opportunities for nesting and breeding, contributing to its survival and well-being.

Through its adaptation to rocky habitats, the Central rock rat demonstrates a remarkable ability to thrive in challenging environments, contributing to the biodiversity and ecological balance of its native ecosystem.

Facts About Central rock rat

  • The Central rock rat (Zyzomys pedunculatus) is a medium-sized rodent native to Australia.
  • It is nocturnal and forages for food in arid areas of central Australia.
  • Adults weigh between 70 – 120 grams and have yellowish-brown fur.
  • The species has experienced extreme declines in range and population.
  • Zyzomys pedunculatus has been found in only 17 sites in a range of habitats.
  • The central rock rat was believed to be extinct until its rediscovery in the 1990s.
  • It is a critically endangered species, with a reduction of over 95% of its extent of occurrence.
  • The maximum longevity of the central rock rat in captivity is recorded as 7.5 years.
  • The species is confined to arid areas in central Australia, specifically in the Northern Territory.
  • Efforts are underway to protect and conserve the central rock rat through various conservation projects.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top