08 June 2008

Mitchell's Hopping-mouse - Notomys mitchelli

I have only seen one of these native mice, and that was in the mallee (its preferred habitat) not far from Mt Ridley (approximately 70 km NNE of Esperance). A lucky sighting as I caught it in my headlights when returning home late one evening along a bush track, however its appearance and method of locomotion were unmistakable. As can be imagined I was not only surprised, but delighted to have see it.

It is considerably larger than a house mouse and with a much longer tail, but nearly half the size of the introduced black rat. It commonly stands on its haunches like a miniature kangaroo and has a fast low hopping gait. It eats seeds, insects and herbaceous vegetation. Home is several deep burrows often well separated from each other and shared by related individuals. A photograph can be viewed here: http://museumvictoria.com.au/bioinformatics/mammals/images/mitclive.htm