Macrotarsomys bastardibastard big-footed mouse

Geographic Range

Macrotarsomys bastardi is found throughout southern and western Madagascar. (Anderson and Jones 1984, Nowak 1999, Parker 1990, Wilson and Reeder 1993)


Preferred habitats for M. bastardi are dry scrublands, dry deciduous forests, and grassland regions. (Wilson and Reeder 1993)

Physical Description

Macrotarsomys bastardi is the smallest species of the murid subfamily, Nesomyinae, the Malagasy mice. M. bastardi is similar in appearance to gerbils. Pelage color is brownish fawn on the upper body with a whitish underbelly. Body length ranges from 80 to 100 mm and tail length from 100-145 mm. The tail has a thin tuft of elongated hair at the end. The hind feet are rather large in comparison to body size and range from 22-28 mm long. Ears are from 22 to 25 mm long. The dental formula is 1/1, 0/0, 0/0, 3/3 = 16. Incisors are opisthodont and smooth faced. M. bastardi also has a weakly developed supraorbital shelf and moderately inflated auditory bullae. (Anderson and Jones 1984, Macdonald 1993, Nowak 1999, Parker 1990)

  • Range mass
    21 to 38 g
    0.74 to 1.34 oz


M. bastardi tend to live in pairs. This species is known to have 2-3 young per litter and to breed year round. Average gestation period is 24 days. In some studies females have bitten their mates to death. (Anderson and Jones 1984, Parker 1990)

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual


These animals depend on running and jumping for locomotion. M. bastardi individuals spend most of the daylight hours in a burrow or lodge with the entrance hole sealed to keep out predators. Most activity occurs at night when they are foraging. (Anderson and Jones 1984, Parker 1990)

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

Their diet mainly consists of berries, fruits, seeds, roots, and plant stems. Little else is known about their food habits. (Parker 1990)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

There are no known positive benefits to humans.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known negative affects on humans.

Conservation Status


Andrew Pitoniak (author), St. Lawrence University, Erika Barthelmess (editor), St. Lawrence University.



living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


uses touch to communicate

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


Anderson, S., J. Jones, JR.. 1984. Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Macdonald, D. 1993. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File Inc..

Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University Press.

Parker, S. 1990. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: McGraw-Hill Inc..

Wilson, D., D. Reeder. 1993. Mammal Species of the World. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press.