Recently I sat down with Adam Woods (Australian museum science communicator) and journalist Clare Watson to talk about citizen science and its increasing popularity. You can read the resulting article in The Stand and hear about some of the citizen science we have been lucky enough to be involved in—ranging from recreational fishers fishing deep water and sending in records of rarely seen fish, to keen backyard naturalists who are logging sightings of frogs and koalas in the suburbs. You can find the full free to access article here!
Recently whilst pottering around in the backyard I saw what I first thought was a ringtail possum in the undergrowth. That was until it scampered across the open yard at a pace a ringtail could only dream of attaining on the ground. It was the biggest rat I had ever seen and it seems to have taken up residence in the ponds (i.e. bathtubs and containers I have set-up for fish and frogs) in my yard.
Since then I have seen it regularly and it doesn’t look like the rats I usually see in the urban environment; it was huge at around 1.5 kg and it also had a fluffy tail tipped with white and a slightly golden underbelly. I’ve seen these guys before when fishing so after the first good look at it I knew it was a native water rat (also known as the rakali). That’s where my knowledge on the species ended. Continue reading