Fawn antechinus - The Mouse with a Pouch

Fawn antechinusThe Fawn Antechinus (Antechinus bellus) is found in Northern Australia and is a member of the marsupial family. They are not nearly as well-known as their marsupial cousins, the kangaroos. Fawn antechinus are found primarily at the top end of the Northern Territory and are fairly common and are not at risk of being endangered. According to the Red List of Endangered Species, the Fawn Antechinus has a stable population. They live in tall, fairly open forests near other similar species like the Sandstone Dibbler and Red-Cheeked Dunnart.

Antechinus means "hedgehog equivalent" and there are nine other species in addition to the Fawn antechinus. 'Antechinus' is also translated from the Latin as 'mouse'. Another definition is 'broad-footed marsupial mice'. Sometimes, Fawn antechinus are referred to as mice with pouches. A biologist by the name Oldfield Thomas first discovered these animals in 1904 and gave the Fawn antechinus its binominal name, Antechinus Bellus, describing the Fawn as beautiful.

This member of the Antechinus family gets its name from its distinct light gray color, which is much paler than other members of this classification. Color can range between light gray and light brown. The Fawn Antechinus is small, weighing less than a pound. Young weigh as little as four grams, which is roughly equal to six teaspoons. One hundred grams is about three ounces; this means the young Fawn weighs about one ounce.
They like to eat spiders, beetles, and weevils. Some Antechinus hunt only at ground level while others climb. Most species of Antechinus, including the fawn, reside in communal nests in trees.

The animal's breeding season is in August with a gestation period of only thirty days. Young are born in September or October. It is not uncommon for several fathers to contribute to the litter. Once the breeding season is over, the males die. Most females die after producing only one litter. Litters can be as big as thirteen. Babies are weaned by the age of ninety-six days.

They are hunted by cats, predatory birds, and foxes and have a maximum life span of only three years.

Picture of the fawn antechinus by XiscoNL, licensed under GFDL

The Fawn antechinus is listed as Least Concern (LR/lc), lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Some facts about the
Fawn antechinus

Adult weight : 0.034 kg (0.0748 lbs)

Maximum longevity : 3 years

Female maturity :350 days

Gestation : 30 days

Weaning : 96 days

Litter size : 13

Interval between litters : 365 days

Source: AnAge, licensed under CC

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