New Holland Mouse and House Mouse

July 30, 2009 by
Filed under: Australian Mammals, Fire 
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New Holland Mouse (Pseudomys novaehollandiae) vs House Mouse in an area recovering from wildfire

In June 2009 we did some small mammal trapping at Lake Munmorah State Conservation Area and we trapped within several areas of Wallum heath, a plant community dominated by Wallum Banksia (Banksia aemula).

Wallum Heath

Wallum heath in Munmorah State Conservation Area, pre-fire.

One of the areas of the Wallum heath was burnt in a wildfire in February this year and I suspected that we would find the introduced house mouse (Mus domesticus) in the area.


Wallum heath, regenerating 5 months post fire

Sure enough we found house mice, but we also found the native New Holland Mouse (Pseudomys novaehollandiae) in the area also, which surprised me given that the fire intensity was quite high.

New Holland Mouse

A captured New Holland Mouse (Pseudomys novaehollandiae)

The New Holland Mouse is quite similar to the House Mouse and we were fortunate enough to capture both species at the same site, in the same trap session which allowed us to compare the two species easily.

New Holland mouse and house mouse c

New Holland Mouse (Pseudomys novaehollandiae) at left, and House Mouse

New Holland Mouse and House mouse

New Holland Mouse (Pseudomys novaehollandiae) at left, and House Mouse

New Holland Mouse and House mouse b

House mouse at left, and a New Holland Mouse (Pseudomys novaehollandiae)

The difference between the two species can easily be seen. The New Holland Mouse is a little bigger than the house mouse and more stocky.  The New Holland Mouse has a different colouring when compared to the house mouse, with a whitish underbelly and dark grey fur near the base compared to the almost uniform grey fur of the house mouse. The New Holland Mouse has touches of brown fur intermixed with white and grey on the back, whereas the house mouse in more uniformy grey on the back. The New Holland Mouse has a more rounded nose rather than a pointed nose in the House Mouse.

In the hand, the new Holland Mouse is more docile than the House Mouse and the New Holland Mouse does not have the “mousy” smell that a House Mouse has.

New Holland Mouse

New Holland Mouse (Pseudomys novaehollandiae)

Many thanks to the other trappers, Glenn Gifford, Kindi Smith, Dave Kelly, John Eaton and Mary Ghosn, thanks Mary for taking the great photos.



6 Responses to “New Holland Mouse and House Mouse”
  1. Ben Hope says:

    Good work Doug and great to see Mary is getting some good experience too.Thanks for putting up the pics

  2. Maddy Griffith says:

    Found this page from a google images search. Our dog (a terrier cross) caught a mouse yesterday. I had seen it inside the house the day before but had not been quick enough to corner it myself. I retrieved what I thought was a corpse but it squeaked and bit me (not breaking the skin) so I held it gently to give it a chance to recover. Unfortunately it was only breathing on one side and died a few hours later. It was quite happy to sit in my hand once it realised I wasn’t hurting it. Poor little thing. At least now I know what it is.

  3. Jen says:

    What cute little creatures! I wonder if they make good pets domestically.

    • Doug Beckers says:

      I have often wondered this myself Jen. I’d say they probably do, however, in New South Wales it is not permitted to keep New Holland Mice as pets. You are allowed however to keep another species of Pseudomys, the Plains Rat (Pseudomys australis) as a pet.

      • Kevin R says:

        They’re listed as Endangered by the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995.
        I find both Pseudomys novaehollandiae and Mus musculus to be very cute and having a high pet-potential, but the species continuity is more important.

  4. Ken says:

    I read somewhere that the New Holland Mouse had not been seen for a long time, until fairly recently when it was “re-discovered” in a national park in Australia. I’m glad it was. It looks quite tame. And—though I really hate using this word, but cannot think of any better word to describe this mouse—cute.

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