Spinifex Hopping Mouse Fact File
The spinifex hopping mouse has a fawn or chestnut coloured back with a white underside. The ears, feet and nose are pink with the eyes being large and black. They have long back feet to aid with hopping.
The long tail has a brown top with a lighter bottom and measures 12.5 to 22.5cm (4.9 to 9.9in). This is tipped with a tuft of fur.
From the head to the base of their tail a spinifex hopping mouse measures between 95 and 115mm (3.7 and 4.5in). An average weight is 35g (1.2oz).
These animals are omnivores. Their diet includes seeds, leaves, roots, shoots, fungi, plants and insects.
To survive in the desert the spinifex hopping mouse is adapted to draw all of its water needs from the food which they eat. Their kidneys have specialised to extract all the water from their diet so it is not wasted.
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Australia is the native home of the spinifex hopping mouse. Here they can be found across South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
They make their home throughout sand flats and dunes, eucalypt woods, tussock grasslands, melaleuca flats and other arid habitats which features spinifex grasses.
They build a burrow which goes deep underground. They make nests in the burrow out of sticks and other plant materials. The entrances to the burrow are hidden in grass. This burrow maintains a constant temperature helping them to survive in the heat of the desert.
Females will mate with several males during the female’s oestrus cycle. Wild animals breeding in spring but can breed year-round in captivity. Incidences of breeding increase following rain and can lead to quick increases in the population.
Pregnancy takes 38 to 41 days following which a littler of 3 to 6 young are born. These are pink, hairless and the eyes are closed. At birth they weigh just 3g (0.1oz). The mother will leave them in a nest where she feeds them while they grow.
20 days after they are born their eyes open. It will take 4 weeks for them to be weaned off milk.
Sexual maturity is achieved around 2 ½ months old.
Groups of spinifex hopping mice may number up to 10.
They are a nocturnal animal. This also helps to reduce their water loss as they are not out in the sun.
When it rains a colony of spinifex hopping mice may migrate long distances to reach this area.
Spinifex Hopping mice can raise their body temperature so it is above that of their outside environment and they feel cooler.
In some states in Australia the spinifex hopping mouse Is kept as a pet.
They are also known by their aboriginal name; dargawarra.
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Moseby, K. 2016. Notomys alexis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T14867A22401181. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T14867A22401181.en. Downloaded on 23 May
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