Spinifex hopping mouse

As with all native species in the Northern Territory (NT), the spinifex hopping mouse is protected. 

It is illegal to kill or take spinifex hopping mice from the wild without a permit. Read more about wildlife permits.

The spinifex hopping mouse is known for its long hind legs and tuft of hair at the end of its tail. 

These features allow the mice to make quick bounding and zig-zag movements so they can escape predators.

They have big black eyes, light brown fur with a grey to white belly and a throat pouch. 

This species looks similar to the northern hopping-mouse, but is found in the arid zone of Central Australia. 

They are nocturnal and shelter from the heat of the day in small burrows.


The spinifex hopping mouse grows up to 13cm long and weighs around 35g. 

Populations depend on rainfall. 

In dry years, their numbers decline and they are restricted to sandy habitats, but with rain, food becomes more available and they can spread out into other habitats.

These mice eat seeds, roots, green shoots and invertebrates.

The hopping mouse usually lives in small family groups, which huddle in burrows to keep themselves warm in cooler months.

They breed all year round, but mainly in spring. 

They generally have litters of three to four babies that stay in the burrow while the mother looks for food.

Young mice are sexually mature after two and a half months.


A local threat to the spinifex hopping mouse are feral cats, which prey on the species. 

Hopping mouse population numbers change depending on rainfall and food availability.

Last updated: 01 September 2015

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