Marsh rice rat Facts

Marsh rice rat Facts
Marsh rice rat is small rodent that belongs to the cricetid family. There are six subspecies of marsh rice rats that can be found in the southeastern parts of the USA. Marsh rice rat inhabits tidal marshes, swamps, wet meadows, beaches, shorelines, estuaries and areas covered with grass and sedges. Habitat loss (draining of wetlands) is the greatest threat for the survival of marsh rice rats in the wild. Marsh rice rat is listed as threatened in Illinois and as endangered in Florida Keys. Other populations of marsh rice rats are large and stable.
Interesting Marsh rice rat Facts:
Marsh rice rat can reach 5 inches in length (plus 7 inches-long tail) and 1.4 to 2.8 ounces of weight.
Marsh rice rat has grayish brown fur with sparse blackish hairs. Feet and belly are whitish or grey colored. Tail is bi-colored: dark brown on the upper side, light grey on the bottom side. Fur is coarse, dense and water repellent. Males and females look alike.
Marsh rice rat has large, flattened head, rounded, furry ears, long, slender body and long, scaly tail covered with sparse hairs.
Marsh rice rat is equally well adapted to the life in the water and on the solid ground (semi-aquatic animal).
Marsh rice rat uses feet to propel its body in the water. It can swim 1.000 feet without a break and dive 30 feet in depth.
Marsh rice rat is nocturnal animal (active during the night).
Marsh rice rat is an omnivore (it eats plants and meat). Its diet is based on insects, snails, crabs, eggs, immature turtles, fish, sedges and various aquatic plants.
When it is faced with danger, marsh rice rat hides under the water. Natural enemies of marsh rice rats are owls, hawks, minks, raccoons, foxes and snakes.
Marsh rice rat is solitary and territorial creature. It defecates and cleans its fur away from the burrow, in specifically designated areas (latrines).
Marsh rice rat is active all year round (it does not hibernate during the winter).
Mating season of marsh rice rats takes place from March to October.
Females can produce up to 8 litters per year. Pregnancy lasts 25 days and ends with 3 to 5 pups. Female is able to conceive immediately after she gave birth.
Babies spend first few days of their life in ball-shaped nest (size of a grapefruit) made of grass. Marsh rice rats are blind and helpless at birth. They depend on the mother's milk until the age of 2 weeks. Soon afterwards, they become ready for the independent life.
Marsh rice rats reach sexual maturity at the age of 50 to 60 days.
Marsh rice rat can survive up to 12 months in the wild (7 months is an average lifespan).

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