Rakali (Hydromys chrysogaster) — not your average rodent.

Super soft and waterproof.
Golden belly water rat twitches
his whiskers and preens.
Rakali, top predator of the lake.


Birds are nervous.
Rakali is in their presence.
They keep their distance from
Rakali, top predator of the lake.


Magpie wants lunch.
Doesn’t want to be lunch.
Retreats.  Respect for
Rakali, top predator of the lake.


Rakali bravely sashays ashore.
A slice of bread will do nicely.
Bread and bird are gone.  Disappointed.
Rakali, top predator of the lake.

rakali1 (1).jpg

Known to enjoy a chip or two.
But no vegetarian, no vegan.
He likes his meat and will not share.
Rakali, top predator of the lake.

Poor bird, poor bird, poor bird.


Hydromys chrysogaster is native to Australia and Papua New Guinea.  It is a vital part of Australia’s ecosystem, keeping waterways clean in much the same way as otters do in other parts of the world.  European settlers/colonisers once considered water rats a pest and a carrier of disease, so culled many.  They also hunted them for their beautiful fur coats.   It is notable that where rakali are present, brown and black rat numbers are reduced.  They are now protected.

I have known of rakalis presence in our local waterways for some time.  However, like the birds, I have kept my distance.  Funnily enough, once I had decided I would like to photograph some, I could not seem to find any.  So my True Love and I were excited when we finally had our chance.  I noticed a magpie peering towards the lake and my suspicions were immediately confirmed.  Here was my chance.  However, I had to hold my nerve when the rakali started running toward me.  I felt the power of my camera offering me protection from my own irrational fears.

I’ve included a couple of entertaining videos for those wishing to know more.  Videos may not be accessible to international readers.

Are they pretty?

Kind Regards.


36 thoughts on “Top Predator Of The Lake

  1. The WWF(World Wildlife Federation) is one of many groups working to save the Rakali, or Australia Water Rat. Ninety-nine percent of human genes are shared with these rodents. Rats have about 300 genes that we do not share. Thank you Tracy, I’m smitten with your water rat photographs. ‘’ Wind in the Willows”’ with Rat, Mole, Toad and the river bank come to mind. Sixty-six million years ago Rat like mammals survived the great asteroid extinction but dinosaurs did not!

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    1. I am so pleased you like them, Sid. If the rakali can survive our use of illegal fishing traps, hopefully they will prevail long after we are all gone. I tried to write my post as a (small and big) kids story, so I am thrilled that it reminded you of “Wind in the Willows”.

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  2. Those are great photos! I’ve never seen a real live Rakali before, but they look interesting. Not sure I’d be brave enough to get up close, but that’s just because rats in general sort of scare me. Which is of course, my issue and not theirs!

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  3. We saw one of these when we lived by the river on our olive farm but our view was a distant one. It’s great see some closeups and to read your enlightening info. Thanks, Tracy.

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  4. I think they definitely are, Tracy! That and fascinating! We used to have a fairly large community of rats in a local park where I learned to appreciate their looks as they were rather cute to watch. And as long as they stay outside of the house I don’t mind them at all.😊
    Loved the poem you wrote about this predator of the lake, and to have learned something new again. 😄

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  5. What a clever poem you wrote, reminding us to watch carefully and learn about the world in all its aspects. I think I’d be running back to a safe space were I ever to encounter one of these rakali. He’s formidable, but me? Not so much.

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  6. Such a fantastic and informative post. Thanks for sharing your photos too. I had never seen a rakali before. Is this critter big? It looks like it is about three times the size of a regular rat, right? A little bit scary but cute mustaches. Love the way you have presented the information. Creative and yes, that makes it easier to read.

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