Notomys alexis M: 95-112mm F: same
AFTER DRENCHING rains, outback Australia’s dunes come alive at night with spinifex hopping-mice feasting on seeds. They scurry about like typical mice until a predator appears, when they bound away on long hind limbs, like tiny kangaroos, making for the nearest burrow or shrub.
Well adapted for desert life, they sleep by day in burrows and can survive without drinking, obtaining all their water from their food. Australia once had 10 hopping-mouse species: five are now extinct and two are rare. Bucking the trend, the spinifex hopping-mouse remains common.
Rodents are an important food source for birds of prey, snakes, dingoes and other predators. But there was much surprise in 2015 when some salmon catfish taken from the Ashburton River in WA were found to have spinifex hoppingmice in their stomachs. It was suggested that hopping-mouse burrows on the river bank had collapsed coll into the water.