Art. XXIV.—Description of a Specimen of Mus rattus, L. in the Colonial Museum.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 28th October, 1871.]
Front feet with four, and hind feet with five toes; thumb of the hind foot with a short claw. Tail considerably longer than the head and body, scaly, covered with short black hairs to the tip. Ears long, rounded at the tip,
yellowish brown, sparingly covered with minute black hairs. Nose rather sharp, hairs of moustaches long (2.25 in.), all black. Teeth yellow. Legs and feet covered with short brownish grey hairs, whitish on the toes, forming, just above each nail, small tufts, which equal the nail in length.
Colours.—Top of the head and back bluish black, mingled on the back with many white hairs, giving it a somewhat grizzled appearance. On the sides the black passes gradually into blackish grey, which is the colour of the whole under parts. Hairs of the body white or grey at the base; fur blackish grey. Hairs on the back long (1.25 in.) and soft, but not silky. The upper incisors yellowish orange, the lower ones yellowish white.
Length from snout to root of tail, 6.5 in.; of tail, 8.5 in.; of head, 2 in.; breadth of head between the ears, .75 in.; length of ear, .87in.; breadth, .62in.; length from nose to ear, 1.44 in.; hind foot, 1.3 in.; fore foot, .75 in. Weight a little more than two ounces.
This specimen is a female, and was caught by a dog in the Tinakori Road, Wellington, on the 24th August, 1871.
Mr. J. A. Allen, in his “Mammalia of Massachusetts,” remarks that “this species changes from black to grey, very old individuals becoming very light coloured.”