African Pygmy Mouse, Mus minutoides

The African pygmy mouse (Mus minutoides) can be found in the sub-Saharan areas of Africa. This mouse, perhaps the smallest of all rodents, can also be found living as pets around the world. Being social creatures, African pygmy mice will live in colonies preferably around water in grassy areas. When kept as pets, the mice cannot be left alone.

Although the underbelly of the African pygmy mouse is a pale white, the rest of fur is colored reddish orange. The triangular ears, although small, are noticeable. The average weight of an adult pygmy mouse can range between 0.11 to 0.42 ounces and the average body length can be up to 3.1 inches. The tail is typically 0.79 to 1.6 inches long.

The African pygmy mouse is able to mate at six to eight weeks of age. Each litter of baby mice can number up to three, and the babies are born blind and hairless. After two weeks, the babies open their eyes, and at four weeks of age, the young are weaned. The average lifespan for this mouse is two years, although cases have been reported of some mice living to be four years old.

One unique characteristic of the African mouse is the method in which sex is determined. Rearrangements of the X chromosome have caused many XY mice to develop into females, instead of males. These mice also consume water differently than other mammals, storing pebbles at the entrance to their dens. Once morning approaches, the mice will drink the dew that has accumulated on the pebbles. The African pygmy mouse has been given a conservation status of “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

Image Caption: African Pygmy Mouse (Mus musculoides) eating millet and grass seed. Credit: AleXXw/Wikipedia