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Little critters had us guessing!

June 24, 2011

A remote camera set up on this fallen, but still growing, remnant paddock tree at Allandale Road, Strath Creek, revealed a group of very active small animals that had us guessing as to whether they were the small native marsupial Agile Antechinus (Antechinus agilis) or just the common House Mouse (Mus musculus).  Several DSE experts reviewed the pictures and came to the (disappointing) conclusion that the critters were indeed house mice.

View the video clip below, which may take a few moments to load.

The paddock has been set aside for revegetation and was planted out last year by the Strath Creek Landcare group and corporate fire-recovery volunteers organised by UGLN coordinator Janet Hagen.  Although only a few old trees remain, the site is close to the Mt. Disappointment Forest, and the following passage from The Mammals of Australia, edited by Ronald Strahan, might be of some relevance to our survey results:

“In Australia, the House Mouse is not only of interest in cultivated regions. In areas of natural vegetation, it often becomes abundant and ubiquitous about 18 months after a fire, at a time when native species are in low density. Mouse densities can remain high for three to four years, decreasing as the population density of small native mammals increases …”

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