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Rare mouse hops into town

Tuesday, 5th April, 2011

SURPRISE ARRIVAL: The Dusky Hopping Mouse has been found for the first time in the city. SURPRISE ARRIVAL: The Dusky Hopping Mouse has been found for the first time in the city.

By Kurtis Eichler

A little animal never seen in the district before has turned up in Broken Hill.

Rescue and Rehabilitation of Native Animals' (RRANA) Lindy Hunt said they had received news of sightings of the Dusky Hopping Mouse in Tibooburra and in the city recently and went to expert Ulrike Kloecker for advice.

Ms Kloecker wrote a thesis on the native mouse and was able to give RRANA information on the endangered creature.

"To my knowledge they've never been in this area before," Ms Hunt told the BDT yesterday.

The mouse, which weight between 20 and 50 grams, is usually found burrowing in and around sandhills which is why the discovery of them in the city came as such a surprise.

Ms Hunt said the recent rain and the wildlife it has fostered might have attracted the animal.

She said the ones which have been handed into RRANA were all adults and that other people had also found some of the mice dead.

But the Dusky Hopping Mouse will disappear once the land dries out again, Ms Hunt said.

The mouse is generally around south western Queensland and north eastern South Australia but its numbers have been reduced, most likely due to competition for food from introduced species such as rabbits, and attacks from foxes and cats.

Meanwhile, RRANA is asking people to donate bath towels and pet carriers. Anyone who can help may call 0429 204 416.

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