Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Fur Trade in Australia? The Beaver Rat and More.

I first heard about the Beaver Rat and how it used to be trapped for its fur from an older neighbour here in New England. There used to be Beaver Rat in Boorolong Creek, just down the bottom of the mountain from where we live. How early this Beaver Rat fur trade started I don't know, but one assumes that if it had been a large industry there would be more information to find.

Definition of BEAVER RAT

: a golden Australian water rat (Hydromys chrysogaster) with an elongated flattened body, broad flat head, short limbs, large feet, and a short heavy white-tipped tail.

Fur seals. The loss of furs from other sources was a major incentive leading to massive hunts for various types of seal. The animals were usually clubbed to death when they came ashore to breed. The pattern was familiar - the discovery of large populations of target species, the development of intensive hunting leading to extermination or depletion, the move to a new area. The first phase (1780-1820) was directed at the southern fur seal in many areas of the southern hemisphere and was carried out by sealers from Europe, Russia, Canada and the U.S. http://darwin.bio.uci.edu/~sustain/bio65/lec05/b65lec05.htm

The Australian Mountain Brushtail Possum. We have a lot of these in Wychwood Forest.
The Australian brush tailed possum was introduced into New Zealand in 1837 to establish a fur trade.   http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/threats-and-impacts/animal-pests/animal-pests-a-z/possums/facts/   

Eugène von Guérard, The barter, 1854, oil on canvas.
(Trading possum furs).  


Craig Meade said...

When I was edumacating myself about this animal after our correspondence, I read that it started to be hunted for fur only after foreign furs had been banned from import. Late 1800's from memory. Good post Le Loup.

Craig Meade

Le Loup said...

Thanks for the feedback & info Craig, appreciated.

Dustinml14 said...

When i took a trip to australia last summer, i landed in sydney, and i visited my uncle who lives there, we spent a month in the "outback" hunting, he showed me a place where beaver rats lived, a little pond with a river. i even saw oe! deadly cute little creatures, and he did say they were heavily hunted in the 18th and 19th centuries, he even showed me a beaver rat skin pouch he had! good times.

Le Loup said...

Thanks for the information Dustin, very interesting & very much appreciated.