CIE Spotlight: Habitat selection by two sympatric rodent species in an alpine resort

Desley W.

Authors: Beilharz, Lisa V.; Whisson, Desley A.

Source: AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY, 64 (5):327-334 (Published online: 8 February 2017)

Brief summary of the paper: Conservation of small mammal species relies on an understanding of their habitat use.

We used trapping surveys and telemetry to examine habitat selection and use by the broad-toothed rat (Mastacomys fuscus mordicus) and the bush rat (Rattus fuscipes) in an alpine resort in Victoria. M. fuscus occurred at low numbers, nesting in subalpine wet heathland and foraging in that habitat as well as small patches of disturbed woodland.

In contrast, R. fuscipes was more common and nested in woodlands. Although foraging primarily in woodlands, R. fuscipes also foraged in all other available habitats. Both species showed strong selection for woodland fragments within ski runs.

Although highly disturbed, these habitats may provide important habitat and connectivity between less disturbed and larger habitat patches.