3 Things We Can Learn from the Now Extinct Bramble Cay Melomys

by Feb 25, 2019

This past week saw the formal recognition of the extinction of the Bramble Cay melomys, a ‘tiny island rodent’1 from a small island near Papua New Guinea.

Not only was the Bramble Cay melomys a relatable little guy (I mean who can’t relate to a nocturnal rodent that shelters in burrows and has ‘relatively small ears and a long tail with a prehensile tip’?), but it has also been marked as the first mammal to go extinct because of climate change – a massive disappointment for a number of reasons.

small rodent in cloth

So, in honour of ‘our little brown rat’, (as dubbed by the Federal Policy Director for the Wilderness Society, Tim Beshara), here’s a few words of career advice based on the Bramble Cay melomys’ wonderfully ratty character.

Be a team player

The Bramble Cay melomys saw the benefits of learning how to coexist on a remarkably small island alongside a number of birds, green turtles, and crabs – and you can too!

Throughout your life – whether it’s at uni or in the workplace – you’re going to find yourself working alongside people with vastly different personalities, communication styles, and skills than you. It’s this diversity that really drives an organisation forward, as it encourages a variety of perspectives, new creativity, and a level of problem solving ability that would otherwise be absent.

Regardless of your field, it’s important you learn how to coexist with those around you (like the Bramble Cay melomys) and build your emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills if you’re hoping to get ahead. After all, teamwork is one of the core skills employers look for when hiring.

Remember you’re one of a kind

The Bramble Cay melomys was ‘considered to be the Great Barrier Reef’s only endemic mammal species’. Likewise, you’re the only version of you out there so it’s important to look after yourself while you’re studying and throughout your career journey.

Recognising when you’re being swamped by work, reaching out to your network when you need a hand, and speaking up when stress is getting to you are all important ways you can take care of your mental health when things get tough. Obviously self-care can be different for different people, so make sure to keep an eye out for warning signs if you feel like you’re struggling. Need some more advice? Check out some of our previous blog posts around mental health:

Don’t let the haters get you down

Regardless of what you decide to do with your career, there are always going to be people who doubt you, put you down, or try to hold you back. Just like back in 1845 when European seaman decided to try and take down our beloved “large rats” with bows and arrows for sport: haters have always been hating.

Keep you dream in mind, whatever it may be, and try not to let them hold you back. Your life is your own and only you know what you are capable of. If you’ve studied, worked hard, and formed connections in your field then there is no reason you can’t succeed, all you need is the confidence and self-belief that you can do it.

Resilience is a big skill many employers look for in their candidates, and a large element of building your resilience is being confident, persistent, and self-aware. Check out our post on Mindy Kaling and our other post on the link between success and persistence to find out more.

illustration of small rodent

I hope we all remember the humble Bramble Cay melomys, and can use its rodent-acious example to succeed on our career journeys.


Featured image courtesy of Geographical


Gynther, I., Waller, N. & Leung, L.K.-P. (2016) Confirmation of the extinction of the Bramble Cay melomys Melomys rubicola on Bramble Cay, Torres Strait: results and conclusions from a comprehensive survey in August–September 2014. (PDF, 6.9M)




By Mia Casey

By Mia Casey


Mia is a Sydney-based copywriter and content creator, who ran the UTS Careers Blog for five years since its conception in 2016.
Her freelance work focuses on branding development and helping companies create a cohesive identity narrative tailored for each of their platforms.
She enjoys piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.