Central Rock-rat



Zyzomys pedunculatus


  • Habitat degradation
  • Predation by feral cats, foxes, and dingos
  • Overgrazing of stock and feral herbivores
  • Spread of Buffalo grass
  • Wildfires

The Central Rock-Rat belongs to a rare rodent species that can only be found in Australia. Edgar Waite gave its first scientific description during the Horn Scientific Expedition to central Australia in the last part of the 20th century. In 1952, two specimens were taken from the Tanami Desert while a single individual was caught near Mount Liebeg in 1969. No more confirmed sightings were provided until a population in West MacDonnell National Park was discovered.

It has many other names including Australian Native Mouse, Macdonnell Range Rock-Rat, and Central Thick-Tailed Rock-Rat. The Central Rock-Rat only weighs up to 120 grams in adulthood with a tail that is carrot-shaped and has harsh-textured fur that is yellow-coloured on its back and cream-coloured on its underside. Its delicate nature is attributed to the fact that it can easily lose its skin, fur, and tail.

Conservation of the Central Rock-Rat population is hindered by the destruction of its natural habitat. This is further compounded by the spread of Buffalo grass which increases the spread of fire. In 2002, drought and massive wildfires played a major role for the swift decline of its number.