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The African Pygmy Mouse
, (Mus minutoides
) is possibly the smallest of all rodent
Rodentia is an order of mammals also known as rodents, characterised by two continuously growing incisors in the upper and lower jaws which must be kept short by gnawing....
s and one of the smallest mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...
s. It is widespread within sub-Saharan Africa, and is kept as a pet in other parts of the world. Like the common House Mouse
The house mouse is a small rodent, a mouse, one of the most numerous species of the genus Mus.As a wild animal the house mouse mainly lives associated with humans, causing damage to crops and stored food....
, it is a member of the enormous superfamily Muroidea
Muroidea is a large superfamily of rodents. It includes hamsters, gerbils, true mice and rats, and many other relatives. They occupy a vast variety of habitats on every continent except Antarctica. Some authorities have placed all members of this group into a single family, Muridae, due to...
, which includes about 1000 different species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...
Grey to brick-red overall, it is pale on the underside and has small but prominent triangular ears. Adults are between 30 millimetre long, with a 20 millimetre tail, and weigh from 3 gram.
African Pygmy Mice reach breeding age at about 6 to 8 weeks. Pregnancy lasts for around 20 days and the litter of about 3 young is born blind and hairless. Their eyes open after 2 weeks, and weaning is complete after 4 weeks. The lifespan is about 2 years, although individual specimens have been reported to live over 4 years in captivity.
The African Pygmy Mouse has a number of unique traits. It stacks pebbles in front of its burrow. Overnight the pebbles gather dew and in the morning the pygmy mouse drinks the dew on the pebbles. After that it retires back to its den. Its method of sex determination has also been found to differ from most mammals in that rearrangements of the X chromosome
The X chromosome is one of the two sex-determining chromosomes in many animal species, including mammals and is common in both males and females. It is a part of the XY sex-determination system and X0 sex-determination system...
have led to many XY individuals actually being female.
They live in colonies or in pairs in grass close to water. They prefer social interaction, and when kept as a pet they can not be left alone.