Is that a Mouse or Mardo?

Roleystone is home to several native animals, and one of the smallest ones is the Mardo or Yellow-Footed Antechinus.

mardo_2To most it would look like a large mouse or small rat, but it is actually a small marsupial that has a pouch like a kangaroo. It can commonly be found in gardens or houses and has a cheeky disposition which can make it an amusing night-time visitor.
Its hopping style produces a strobe-like effect - you may only be able to see it in certain positions, not how it actually gets there due to its rapid movement.

They are carnivorous and are ferocious hunters. They mostly eat insects, but can feed on a variety of food from flowers to nectar and small birds and mice. They have also been known to pilfer food from kitchens.

Mardos move very rapidly with darting movements and can run upside-down along branches and rock faces and regularly "bulldoze" through leaf litter as they hunt for their prey.



  mardo_1Mardo's are pretty passionate little animals, and their intensity extends to their mating habits where activity is so intense that the males usually die shortly after copulating from stress.
July is a good time to see the males out and about during the day. Although normally nocturnal, the urge to mate leads these little animals to throw caution to the wind. The females are left to raise their young alone.

After about a one month pregnancy, the female gives birth to up to 12 young which are carried in the pouch for up to 5 weeks and weaned after about 3 months. The young share a leafy nest which may be located anywhere from a blackboy in the garden to an old sofa, or cupboard in your house or shed.

The following winter they become territorial and more intolerant of each other's company.

The biggest problem to the future of Mardos in Roleystone is the presence of local cats. A garden which includes dense shrubs from 1-3m height is a good way of encouraging them but if you or any of your neighbours have a cat then they will not be able to survive and prosper.

The presence of Mardos in our houses and gardens is a good reason for not using poisons in the house and around the garden and instead use live-traps that don't harm the animal (available from Roleystone Hardware).

The easy way to tell them apart from rodents is by their front teeth: mice and rats have two long pointy teeth on their upper jaw, whereas Mardo's have lots of little teeth. Also the House mouse has a tail longer than it's body (webmaster).


A couple of facts about our Friendly House Mouse Rodent (Mus musculus).


Rodent House Mouse


  • The Mus Musculus mouse is believed to be the second most populous mammalian species on Earth, after Homo sapiens.
  • Mice breed from August to May
  • Mice breed from 6-8 weeks of age A mouse is pregnant for 19 days and re-mates 1-3 days after giving birth
  • Mice give birth to litters of 5-10 young
  • One breeding pair of mice and their offspring has the potential to produce 500 mice in just 21 weeks