The heath mouse (Pseudomys shortridgei) is a species of mouse in the subfamily Murinae, the Old World rats and mice. Alternative common names include, heath rat, blunt-faced rat, Shortridge's native mouse, fausse souris de Shortridge (French), and ratón bastardo crestado (Spanish). It is endemic to Australia.
This is one of the larger Australian Pseudomys species, with a body mass of 55 to 90 grams, head and body length of 9 to 12 centimeters, and a tail length of 8 to 11 centimeters. Its fur is grey-brown dorsally, flecked with buff and black, and with a distinctly paler belly. Dark guard hairs cover the upper portions of the body and give the heath mouse a fluffy appearance. The feet are brown but slightly paler than the body. This mouse is very similar in appearance to the bush rat (Rattus fuscipes), but it can be distinguished by the shape of the posthallucal pad on the foot.
The head of the heath mouse is characteristically blunt, with a Roman nose and bulging eyes, characteristics shared by the majority of the Pseudomys genus. Another common characteristic of Pseudomys, which is also the second morphological character that helps to distinguish the heath mouse from the bush rat, is the hairy tail with distinct bi-colouration: dark above and light beneath.
- Menkhorst, P. & K. Morris. 2008. Pseudomys shortridgei. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. Downloaded on 21 June 2013.
- Cooper, N. K. (1994). Identification of Pseudomys albocinereus, P. occidentalis, P. shortridgei, Rattus rattus and R. fuscipes using footpad patterns. Western Australian Naturalist 19, 279–283.
- Watts, C. H. S. and H. J. Aslin. The Rodents of Australia. Angus & Robertson, Melbourne. 1981.
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