Water Mouse

Xeromys myoides

Status

Vulnerable (State & Commonwealth)

Problem

Water Mice are threatened when mangroves and adjacent salt-flats are destroyed or altered by urban, industrial and agricultural development, mining, pollution, acid sulfate exposure and the construction of bund walls. These rodents have a life cycle that depends on mangrove communities. Dingoes, cats, foxes and feral pigs also prey on them.

Background Information

Water Mice are small nocturnal, native rodents that forage for small crabs, shellfish and worms inside mangrove forests. They build enormous mud nests, like termite mounds, usually in inside the bases of hollow mangrove trunks or in sedges outside the mangroves where they, and their babies, can escape above the highest of tides.

Research

Research by the Queensland Museum first documented many of the habitat and food requirements of this rare mouse in south-east Queensland. Additional cooperative research with the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management has focussed on its distribution and nesting requirements. Research has identified mangrove community preservation, feral predator control, water quality maintenance and insecticide use as major concerns in south-east Queensland.

Solution

Protecting mangroves alone will not ensure survival of this mouse. To conserve it we must: preserve adjoining sedgelands and saltmarsh, maintain adjacent high tide banks with their cover of salt-tolerant woodland plants, avoid habitat fragmentation and maintain water quality suitable for the crustaceans that it feeds on.

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.