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Lush Outback Lures Australian Rat Invasion April 15, 2011
Outback long-haired rat
One of the long-haired rats that have been lured to an unusually lush outback landscape.
Interior Australia’s recent bountiful rainy seasons have triggered a mass migration of rats, being lured by the lush wildlife spawned by some of the most widespread and heavy rains in a century.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reports that the native long-haired rat, which normally lives in the grasslands of the Barkly Tableland of the Northern Territory and western Queensland, are being seen in the normally arid region around Alice Springs for the first time in 25 years.

The outback community usually has no such rodents due to its dry climate.

The long-haired rodent can produce 12 babies every three weeks, which has allowed an explosive increase in its numbers.

“Probably the only similar expansion by a rodent is seen in the lemmings in the Northern Hemisphere,” said Peter McDonald, acting scientist with Northern Territory Biodiversity Conservation.

“There is nothing else in Australia which erupts over such a large area,” McDonald added.

Photo: Northern Territory Government