H. chrysogaster Skull Replica measures 2.3 inches. H. chrysogaster Skull is museum quality polyurethane resin cast. 2-part skull (separate cranium and jaw). Made in the USA. Known as the Australian Water Rat
The H. chrysogaster or Australian Water Rat dwells in freshwater lakes and rivers throughout Australia and Tasmania and on offshore islands. They are also found on New Guinea.
H. chrysogaster individuals live mainly near permanent fresh water.
They live on land but depend on the water for food. Also present along the coastline, H. chrysogaster do not need completely fresh water.
They can also survive in areas where rivers and streams have become polluted or are brackish.
They are about the size of a rabbit and well adapted for water. The toes are webbed on front and hind feet, which are broad and act as paddles.
H. chrysogaster has numerous whiskers at the end of a long, blunt muzzle. The head is flat with small ears and eyes. The most notable characteristic is the water rat’s thick white tipped tail.
H. chrysogaster live in burrows alone or with young. However, populations are concentrated in certain areas. Their burrows run parallel to the banks of lakes or rivers.
The entrances are often hidden under a log or root. Inner nest chambers are about 20 cm high. These burrows may have more than one chamber and a second entrance. Water rats got their name from their ability to swim and dive.
They do not have water resistant fur or many adaptations for the water. This becomes a problem when the temperature is low.
H. chrysogaster or Australian Water rats will go into rivers for short periods of time in the winter, but they still suffer regional hypothermia from both the air and water when the temperature drops.
One adaptation that may help them survive this hypothermia is an interscapular pad of brown fat. Metabolism of this pad insulates the heart and allows warm blood to flow to the heart and the spinal cord during cold weather.