Heath Mouse survey off to a flying start!

Heath Mouse survey off to a flying start!

The 2015 Heath Mouse (Pseudomys shortridgei) survey is off to a cracking start!

On Day 1, the species has already been detected within an area of habitat that was burned just 2 years ago (literally just after the last survey), and still looks visually ‘underdone’ in terms of vegetation recovery. Despite how it looks, this Heath Mouse, and several bush rats (Rattus fuscipes) found in the same area, have decided it is good enough to use now!

A surprising start! – an adult female Heath Mouse was found in this recovering burned habitat on Day 1 of the survey.

The other great early find has been the capture of another female Heath Mouse in a patch of mature heathland – but, there’s a catch… this specific animal was first captured two years ago! Given that most small mammals of this size in the wild have high rates of population turnover, this is a great find.

If you look very closely below, you might be able to see a small round ‘punch’ of skin is missing from the ear of this animal, indicating that it was captured and marked in the last survey.

A female Heath Mouse first captured in 2013, recaptured and shown here in 2015.

In the final image below, of the habitat where this animal was captured, notice the additional floristic diversity, and hence potential fruit and seed resources available for Heath Mice, in this area when compared to the previous image of recovering (post-fire) habitat.

More results to come…

The mature heathland habitat where the recaptured Heath Mouse was found.

 

Mark Bachmann
Mark Bachmann


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