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Fawn footed melomy

Fawn footed melomy

A rainforest specialist

One of four melomy species in Australia

The fawn-footed melomy is a small to medium sized nocturnal murid rodent native to the Eastern coast of Australia. There are only four species of melomy in Australia.

It has russet-brown to brownish-grey fur on the dorsal surface, with a white belly and feet. While the tails of most mice and rats are covered in overlapping scales, the fawn-footed melomys’ tail is made up of tiny, interlinking scales that are arranged like mosaics. This unique trait earned the species its other common name, the fawn-footed mosaic-tailed rat.

The fawn-footed melomy has been described as a rainforest specialist, although it is known to occur in forest edges. There is limited knowledge about the behaviour of the fawn-footed melomy. It is believed that these mice are primarily herbivorous, feeding on leaves, seeds, fruits and flowers. They are scansorial, adapted to climbing rainforest trees to search for food. Melomys are important prey items for many rainforest predators, such as sooty owls and pythons. They also play a role in pollination and seed dispersal of rainforest plants.

It’s believed that males and females occupy separate territories that overlap with each other. Young can be born throughout the year, provided there are sufficient resources. Females give birth to relatively small litters of 1-3 pups, which they raise alone in the absence of a mate.