Spinifex hopping mouseScientific Name Notomys alexis

Conservation Status Least Concern

Appearance

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.

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).

Lifespan

A Spinifex Hopping mouse usually lives for between 3 and 4 years.

Diet

These animals are omnivores. Their diet includes seeds, leaves, roots, shoots, 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.

Habitat

Australia is the native home of the spinifex hopping mouse. Here they can be found across South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Here the 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.

Reproduction

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.

Spinifex hopping mousePregnancy 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 they eyes open. It will take 4 weeks for them to be weaned off milk.

Sexual maturity is achieved around 2 ½ months old.

Behaviour

Predators of the spinifex hopping mouse include dingoes, snakes and owls. They also face threats from introduced predators such as foxes and cats.

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 migrate long distances to reach them.

Quick Facts

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.