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Mice Rats and Relatives: Muridae

Egyptian Spiny Mouse (acomys Cahirinus): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Egyptian spiny mice have large ears; gray-brown to sandy spiny hairs covering its back; gray to white bellies; and scaly, hairless tails. Adults have a body length of 2.7 to 6.7 inches (7 to 17.0 centimeters); tail length of 1.9 to 4.7 inches (5 to 12 centimeters); and weight of 1 to 2.4 ounces (30 to 70 grams).

Geographic range: These mice are distributed through Africa and the Middle East.

Habitat: Egyptian spiny mice live in arid (dry) and semi-arid environments like deserts and savannas, often preferring to be around rocks. They live in burrows and are sometimes found in trees, but are considered to be terrestrial, ground-living, animals.

When threatened, the Egyptian spiny mouse expands its bristles to appear larger, hoping to scare off the intruder. (© E. R. Degginger/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Diet: They eat mostly arthropods, along with snails, plant materials, grains, and grasses.

Behavior and reproduction: Egyptian spiny mice are fairly social animals, living in small groups with a dominant male who fights to maintain his control. They are good jumpers, and build simple nests. The gestation period is five to six weeks, with a litter of one to five pups. Young are well developed when born, having thin hair, open eyes (within a few days), and are able to breed almost immediately. Females help each other with the birthing process.

Egyptian spiny mice and people: People keep Egyptian spiny mice as pets.

Conservation status: Egyptian spiny mice are not threatened. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsMice Rats and Relatives: Muridae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Muskrat (ondatra Zibethicus): Species Accounts, Norway Lemming (lemmus Lemmus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, MICE RATS RELATIVES AND PEOPLE, CON