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New Holland mouse

Current status

[Photo of New Holland mouse by D. Watts.]

This is listed as endangered under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995.

Why is it a threatened species?

The New Holland mouse (Pseudomys novaehollandiae) is listed as threatened because it is a rare species - that means it only occurs in low numbers - and much of its habitat is unprotected. Although this tiny rodent is wholly protected wherever it is found, this is not true for its habitat. Habitat is only protected when it occurs within a national park or other reserved land area. The New Holland mouse is restricted to the few remaining patches of dry coastal heathland and open, heathy forest on Tasmania's northeast coastline. These areas are at risk from habitat clearing and changes to the fire regime.

Rediscovery!

This tiny little native mouse went missing for about a century. Then it was rediscovered in the 1960s on the outskirts of Sydney and has since been found to be widespread in coastal NSW and Victoria and to also occur in Tasmania's northeast. It feeds at night mostly on seeds as well as some insects and roots. The New Holland mouse prefers recently burnt heath, in which seed producing plants such as wattles and peas are in greatest abundance. After fires, their numbers can build up quite quickly but they soon drop off again as other plants and animals take over.

What is being done?

Management of this little mouse's habitat is very important to its long term survival. They have the potential to build their numbers up quite quickly by having several litters of several young each year (females are sexually mature in their first year). By maintaining areas of suitable habitat the species can be encouraged. This means regular burning of some coastal heathlands on our northeast.

Recommended further reading

Strahan R. 1995. The Mammals of Australia. Australian Museum, Reed Books.

Tasmanian Conservation Trust 1987. Tasmanian Mammals: A field Guide. Photos by Dave Watts.

[Back to List of Threatened Mammals]