Shark Bay mouse
The Shark Bay mouse is a small, robust rodent with large black eyes. Its long, shaggy brown fur fades to white underneath, and its lightly furred tail is longer than its head and body. Although Shark Bay mice build burrows, they shelter mostly in nests under vegetation. They also build tunnels and runways through piles of seagrass on beaches.
Diet and habitat
These mice live mainly in coastal dunes and other sandy areas sheltered by spinifex. They are omnivorous, feeding on flowers, leaves, insects and spiders. Shark Bay mice may also be found among wattle and spinifex heath further inland.
The Shark Bay mouse breeds mostly between May and November and a female may breed twice a year. The young attach to her teats and are dragged around beneath her when she is on the move. Young are fully grown after 100 days and individuals can live more than two years.
Once widespread through the south west and into central Australia, the Shark Bay mouse became extinct on the mainland soon after European settlement. Wild populations are now only found on Bernier and Faure islands in Shark Bay and on North West Island. It will be reintroduced to Dirk Hartog Island as part of the Return to 1616 project.
Threats to the Shark Bay mouse include predation by feral cats and foxes; habitat changes caused by introduced hooved herbivores; and competition with rabbits.