Sminthopsis murina Click to enlarge image
DW1-36216.tif Image: Dick Whitford
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    murina
    Genus
    Sminthopsis
    Family
    Dasyuridae
    Order
    Dasyuromorphia
    Class
    Mammalia
    Phylum
    Chordata
  • Size Range
    Up to 12 cm.

Light brown to grey fur with darker fur on its head and neck.

Identification

Light brown to grey fur with darker fur on its head and neck. The underparts and feet are lighter in colour. Large rounded ears. A thin tail almost the same length as its body. Males weigh up to 40 grams; females up to 25 grams.


Habitat

Dry sclerophyll forests and mallee heath land.

Distribution

Eastern and southern Australia.



Seasonality

During the day it sleeps in an undercover nest or shallow burrow. It has the ability to become torpid, which results in temporary hibernation where the body temperature drops below 15 degrees Celsius. This is believed to be a technique which aids their survival in unfavourable conditions.

Feeding and diet

A nocturnal insectivore whose diet consists mainly of beetles, cricket larvae, cockroaches and spiders.

Breeding behaviours

The breeding season has been recorded from August/September to late March, during which time the males can become aggressive. Females attract a mate by making a series of ‘chit’ calls. The gestation period is approximately 12 days and the young can be weaned after 60 days. Females are able to have two litters per year producing up to 20 young. Young dunnarts reach full adult size at 150 days and it is believed that most males can only survive one breeding season before they die.