Mighty Marsupial Mouse
Walking slowly with my camera I was out looking for Spring wildflowers and birds. I don’t actually walk many kilometers – perhaps 2km at most. Recently I have found a trail which is not too popular with joggers nor mountain-bikers.
Being a bird-watcher I’m looking for that telltale rustle in a thick bush and I keep an ear out for bird-calls in the forest canopy. Occasionally I can hear something scratching around in the leaf litter on the forest floor. That’s what I was looking for when I saw this creature. OK – it’s dead…. but it is interesting. Certainly not a mouse or rat. It would fit into the palm of my hand if I dared pick it up. The tail is about as long as the body. The fur appears fine and silky: brown along the back but pale underneath. The ears are quite large and rounded with a clearly visible notch on the edge. And I can just see the sharp teeth which would be effective in munching the insects, spiders, cockroaches and centipedes it feeds on.
I took quite a few photos and back at home I looked up what it might be: Marsupial Mouse – Antechinus stuartii (also known as the Brown antechinus).
I actually found two dead ones on the same walk. Most probably males – do you know why? They only breed for about 2 weeks in winter after which they die of stress and exhaustion. No kidding.
Author Bio: I’m a keen gardener and bird-watcher so I do love to walk in the bush and parks nearby my home in the Illawarra to observe birds and wildflowers in particular. It’s the change of seasons right now so many animals are more active while they find mates and make their seasonal migrations this makes even short excursions worthwhile.