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Shark Bay Mouse (Pseudomys fieldi)

Pseudomys fieldi, Shark Bay 

The Shark Bay Mouse

The shark bay mouse is also known as the Alice Springs mouse and the djoongari. The Alice Springs mouse was once thought to be extinct until it was discovered that the shark ay mouse is really the Alice Springs mouse. Currently the only known location of this species can be found on Bernier Island. There is a possibility that there are other locations where there is a population; however scientists have not been able to successfully locate any. The shark bay mouse is classified as “vulnerable”, there are currently attempt being made to introduce the species to other locations. There are some captive breeding attempts being made on Bernier Island. Information on the social structure of this species is limited.

Shark bay mice appear to favor sand dunes located at cliff bases. Nests are made in shallow burrows, with various types of vegetation used as padding. Occasionally nests will be built in the hollow of a mangrove. This species is appears to be solitary.

The tail of a shark bay mouse is notably longer than the body measuring an average of 120mm. The head and body average a measurement of 95mm. The shaggy fur that covers the shark bay mouse has given the species the nickname of “shaggy mouse”. Yellow fur with some grey mixed in covers the back and fades into a white hue on the underbelly. The tail is grey on the top and white underneath.

Green vegetation and flowers are among the shark bay mouse’s favorite food. Also included in the diet of this species are fungi, insects, and spiders when the preferred foods are unavailable.

Breeding primarily occurs through winter and spring. Gestation lasts about 29 days. In captivity the average litter size is 3 young. For two weeks the young are attached to the mother’s nipples Four weeks after birth the young are weaned.

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A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia, Menkhorst, P. and Knight, F. ©2001.

Native Rodent Not Extinct After All, Hill, R., 8/9/04, http://deh.gov.au/minister/env/98/mr4jan98.html.

Encyclopedia of Endangered Species, Freedman, B. ©1998.

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