Swamp antechinus

Swamp antechinus
Image: Michael Sale
Community type

Wet scrub

Habitat type

Tidal wetlands and macrophytes beds

This small native mammal is related to the well known quoll and Tasmanian devil. Also known as the little Tasmanian marsupial mouse, swamp Antechinus are mostly nocturnal and live in small burrows or nests of grass. They prefer wet habitats of dense heath, sedgeland, or tussock grass land, as you would find along the banks of many wetlands, lakes and streams. Antechinus are voracious predators with their long snout and many sharp teeth enabling them to devour moths, locusts, dragonflies, and any other insect they find. Antechinus are unusual mammals, as they are very short-lived compared to similar sized species of native rats and mice. Male Antechinus often only live for a single year. Essentially, the stress associated with competing for a mate and breeding is so great that breeding animals die soon after. Females live a little longer, for two to three years. This short life span means that any event that disrupts their breeding cycle (e.g. flood or fire) can wipe out the population in that area. The major threats to the species are habitat loss including drainage of swamp habitats, fragmentation of its population due to roads and walking tracks, poor fire management, wildfires, and feral predators.

Much of the text within the species area of our website was written by Veronica Thorpe, as part of the Derwent River Wildlife Guide (2000).

The DEP has developed a variety of classroom and outdoor activities focused around the key estuary habitats of tidal wetlands, salt marshes and rocky reefs. These include classroom materials, online resources, interpretive walks, games and sensory experiences.