Tuesday 21 May
Greater big-footed mouse (Macrotarsomys ingens)
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Greater big-footed mouse fact file
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Greater big-footed mouse description
This small, gerbil-like mouse has relatively large eyes which hint at its nocturnal behaviour. The upperparts are light brown to fawn with slightly more greyish underfur, and the underparts and legs are paler and often creamy-white. The ears are oval shaped, and the very long tail ends in a whitish tuft. The greater big-footed mouse belongs to the subfamily Nesomyinae, a group of 20 rodent species found only in Madagascar, and is one of only two species of Macrotarsomys (2).Top
Greater big-footed mouse biology
The greater big-footed mouse is a nocturnal species, and is almost totally arboreal, spending nearly all of the night time in trees. During daylight hours it occupies an underground burrow, which is dug under a large rock or tree stump. These burrows have closed, concealed entrances, and can be recognised by the small piles of soil outside the entrance, thrown up during excavation (2). Like other species belonging to the subfamily Nesomyinae, the greater big-footed mouse is thought to be an herbivore, feeding on fruit, seeds, berries, roots and stems. They themselves are an important food source for a number of snakes, birds of prey and mammalian carnivores (4).Top
Greater big-footed mouse rangeTop
Greater big-footed mouse habitatTop
Greater big-footed mouse status
Classified as Endangered (EN) by the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Greater big-footed mouse threats
The greater big-footed mouse is very vulnerable to any threats due to its very restricted distribution. The dry, deciduous forests of Madagascar are threatened by burning to clear land for agriculture and grazing, selective logging and expanding rural human populations (5). Such habitat destruction and degradation will inevitably impact heavily on the greater big-footed mouse.Top
Greater big-footed mouse conservation
The greater big-footed mouse occurs within the Ankarafantsika National Park. Unfortunately, this area still faces the threat of frequent fires during the dry season and encroachment by grazing cattle, but international conservation organisations are working to improve the protection of the reserve (6).Top
Find out more
For further information on the greater big-footed mouse see:
- The EDGE of Existence programme:
- Madagascar Wildlife Conservation:
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- Active at night.
- IUCN Red List (June, 2009)
- Garbutt, N. (1999) Mammals of Madagascar. Pica Press, Sussex.
- Carleton, M.D. and Schmidt, D.F. (1990) Systematic studies of Madagascar’s endemic rodents (Muroidea, Nesomyinae): an annotated gazetteer of collecting localities of known forms. American Museum Novitates, 2987: 1 - 36.
- Animal Diversity Web (June, 2007)
- World Wildlife Fund (June, 2007)
- UNEP – WCMC (June, 2007)
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