Nature conservation

Threatened species

Eastern Chestnut Mouse - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Pseudomys gracilicaudatus
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Profile last updated: 27 Apr 2022


The Eastern Chestnut Mouse is a large, stocky mouse, up to twice the body length of a House Mouse, and three to four times the weight. It is chestnut-brown above and grey underneath. Its feet, which have long brown hairs on top and are pale beneath, distinguish it from the similar and coexisting Swamp Rat Rattus lutreolus, which has all-dark feet, and the Bush Rat Rattus fuscipes, with pink feet. Its sparsely hairy tail also differs from the naked tails of the two rats.


In NSW the Eastern Chestnut Mouse mainly occurs north from the Hawkesbury River area as scattered records along to coast and eastern fall of the Great Dividing Range extending north into Queensland. There are however isolated records in the Jervis bay area.

Habitat and ecology

  • In NSW the Eastern Chestnut Mouse is mostly found, in low numbers, in heathland and is most common in dense, wet heath and swamps. In the tropics it is more an animal of grassy woodlands.
  • Optimal habitat appears to be in vigorously regenerating heathland burnt from 18 months to four years previously. By the time the heath is mature, the larger Swamp Rat becomes dominant, and Eastern Chestnut Mouse numbers drop again.
  • Feeds at night via runways through the grassy and sedge understorey, within an area of less than half a hectare. It has a broad diet of grass stems, invertebrates, fungi and seeds, with the relative significance of each component varying seasonally.
  • Up to three litters are produced from spring to autumn; this strategy allows rapid build-up of numbers in years following fire.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
New England TablelandsStanthorpe Plateau Known None
NSW North CoastChaelundi Known None
NSW North CoastCoffs Coast and Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastDalmorton Known None
NSW North CoastKaruah Manning Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Gorges Predicted None
NSW North CoastMacleay Hastings Known None
NSW North CoastRocky River Gorge Known None
NSW North CoastTomalla Predicted None
NSW North CoastUpper Hunter Known None
NSW North CoastWashpool Predicted None
NSW North CoastYuraygir Known None
Other StateJervis Bay Territory Predicted None
Other StateQLD Known None
South Eastern QueenslandBurringbar-Conondale Ranges Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Sandstones Known None
South Eastern QueenslandScenic Rim Known None
South Eastern QueenslandSunshine Coast-Gold Coast Lowlands Predicted None
South Eastern QueenslandWoodenbong Known None
Sydney BasinJervis Known None
Sydney BasinPittwater Known None
Sydney BasinWyong Known None