A sociable animal, the plains mouse lives in small colonies that dramatically increase in number after rainfall when resources, such as food and water, are more abundant. During such population eruptions individuals move into areas that are not occupied at other times (5). A nocturnal species, the plains mouse shelters during the day in shallow burrows within cracks or at the base of bushes (4). The plains mouse has a principally herbivorous diet comprising seeds, some green plant material and the occasional insect (7). It is able to survive without drinking, as it obtains all the water it requires through its food – a useful adaptation in the dry stony plains it inhabits (6).
The plains mouse is an opportunistic breeder that typically reproduces after a period of rainfall. A nest chamber is situated within a crack, or within a warren situated at the base of a low shrub, and is lined with dried grass and other vegetation (4). The female generally gives birth to a litter of 3 or 4 young after a gestation period of 30 to 31 days. The young attach to one of the four teats and may be dragged around during lactation (4). The young are weaned 28 days after birth (6).
The plains mouse falls prey to a number of species including the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), dingo (Canis lupus dingo), barn owl (Tyto alba), letter-winged kite (Elanus scriptus), and mulga snake (Pseudechis australis), as well as feral cats (Felis catus) (4).