#CreatureFeature – Ash-grey mouse (Pseudomys albocinereus)

Image credit: Ben Parkhurst

Description
The Ash-grey mouse (Pseudomys albocinereus) is a nocturnal rodent and its soft fur, large ears and large eyes give it a cute appearance. It has long, grey fur on its back and face with white areas under its eyes, snout and underside. Its tail is slightly longer than the body, is sparsely furred and pale pink except for a narrow brown line along the upper surface near the base. Ash-grey mice are gentle and docile when handled, which sets them apart from the more aggressive house mouse.

Habitat
The distribution range of the Ash-grey mouse is from Shark Bay to Israelite Bay in the southwest of Western Australia. These mice favour sandplain heath, shrubland, and mallee heath and reside in deep burrow complexes or nests arranged in leaf detritus or the hollows of logs where they huddle together to reduce evaporation.

Diet
The Ash-grey mouse is mainly herbivorous eating green plant material, seeds and at times invertebrates. It is well adapted to dry conditions and can survive for four to seven months with little or no free water. They do this by ingesting vegetation with high moisture content and when the plants start to dry out they can supplement their water intake by eating invertebrates.

Reproduction
The Ash-grey mouse has between two and six young that are born after a 37 to 38 day gestation and usually produce one litter a year. In harsher conditions they will breed opportunistically and in times when food is plentiful they may even breed twice a year. The young grow to full size over summer and autumn and are able to breed in their first year.

Threats
Ash-grey mice face many threats including land clearing, habitat fragmentation, altered fire regimes, competition and predation from invasive species.

Information Source: Mammals of the Avon region / by Mandy Bamford, Rowan Inglis and Katie Watson

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