Alawa hopeful native mice will breed
Alawa Primary School is researching how to breed the large-eyed, long-eared desert dwelling Spinifex Hopping Mouse.
The project is an inaugural partnership with the Territory Wildlife Park, which is providing expertise to the school.
Two male mice currently domiciled in the school’s two-metre long habitat — with six tonnes of sand, branches, logs and native grasses — will be joined by a female mouse in the coming months. Female mice typically produce three or four young that are weaned four weeks later, and are sexually mature at two and a half months.
Feeding the mice, managing their waste, and watering the sand to make it structurally coherent enough for burrowing, are duties performed by Year 6 students. Students in years 3 to 6 are being taught about the environmental needs of the mice, and how they are bred and reared.
The mice will eventually be given to the park, and the school will then focus on the endangered Northern Hopping Mouse of Groote Eylandt, the offspring of which will be released onto the island. The program, which began this Term, will last for more than a year.