Grassland Melomys

Grassland Melomys

Melomys burtoni

Identification:

Body length 100 mm; tail length 120 mm; weight 55 g. Size of a large mouse; harsh reddish-brown fur; tail longer than head-body length, dark on top, off-white on underside, virtually hairless with small scales arranged like mosaic bathroom tiles. Hind foot length is usually less than 26 mm and first interdigital pad is shorter than 2.3 mm. First and second molars have 5 roots.

Habitat and Range:

Rarely encountered. Grasslands and heath fringes bordering swamps and mangroves. North Stradbroke and Moreton Is. Found in Kimberley region, WA, coastal NT and from Weipa, Qld, to the tip of Cape York Peninsula and down east coast to mid NSW.

Notes:

Nocturnal; solitary and aggressive with its own kind. Agile climber. Builds a nest like that of a wren, placed in long grass or in thick vegetation (such as pandanus leaves). Similar to Water Mouse and Fawn-footed Melomys.

Threats:

Cats, land clearing and reclamation.

Traces:

Droppings like those of House Mouse.

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