The African Dwarf Mouse (Mus minutoides) is one of the smallest mammals and that also makes them very cute! They are no larger than 3 to 6 cm. They are real show animals. They are too small and too fast to pick up and cuddle. The Dwarf mice are active at dusk and at night.
Body weight: 4 to 10 g
Mice are generally active and curious animals. They are social animals that should be kept together. Thanks to the long tail, they are also good climbers and they can keep their balance well. This also helps them to walk well over the hand and because they see depth, they also stay on the hand.
The African Dwarf Mouse comes, as the name suggests, from Africa where they live on the side of the Sahara. In captivity they live an average of 2 years.
Tame and familiarize yourself with the African Harvest Mouse
Always read carefully before you decide to take African Dwarf Mice. They are twilight and nocturnal animals, so they are not often seen during the day. This makes them less suitable as pets for children. In addition, African Dwarf Mice are very small and not easy to handle, making them more show animals. In the evenings you look, your eyes out!
To be able to observe the animals properly during the night hours, a moonlight lamp with blue light can be used.
Housing of the African Harvest Mouse
African Dwarf Mice are social animals that should be kept together. In the wild they live in colonies with often one dominant male. A group of women or men is best put together at a young age.
A wire cage is not suitable for African Dwarf Mice. This is due to their small size. There isn't a single wire cage that they can't squeeze through. A terrarium is therefore the best housing for an African Dwarf Mouse.
African Dwarf Mice need a spacious enclosure of at least 75 x 40 x 40 cm ( LICG ) for two animals. For each additional animal, 20% additional floor area must be added. A good enclosure gives the animals the opportunity to show their natural behaviour. Mice are very active in the wild, and they want to keep doing that in captivity, they don't want to get bored. The Mouse needs an extensive stay with lots of play and climbing opportunities. Thanks to the long tail, Mice can keep their balance very well, making them great climbers.
Hamsterscaping is also great fun for Color Mice!
At our house, a good mouse enclosure translates into a spacious enclosure with lots of challenge and plenty of hiding places. A terrarium is the best choice here thanks to its closed character. It is important that a terrarium allows good ventilation, so preferably has two grids (top and bottom). This is especially important in summer when temperatures rise above 25°C.
A running wheel is a challenge for these small animals. There are currently few running wheels that are light enough for the African Pygmy Mouse.
African Dwarf Mouse cannot withstand low temperatures
African Dwarf mice do not tolerate low temperatures very well. Because of their small size, the body needs a lot of energy to keep warm. If the temperature drops too low, this can be fatal for the animals. The temperature should therefore preferably not drop below 18°C.
For example, a heat lamp can be used to give the mice extra heat.
House for an African Dwarf Mouse
African Dwarf Mice are in luck! because many houses that are made for hamsters are also a good size for these Mice. African dwarf mice are also prey animals and do not like to walk openly through the enclosure, if they occasionally come across a shelter where they can shoot away, they already feel a lot safer. Mice like to sleep together, so at least one house in the enclosure should be large enough to accommodate the entire group. In addition, one extra sleeping house or hiding place per Mouse is ideal. The animals like to sleep together, but they should also have a place where they can retreat for a while.
Grass houses are also very natural for Muisjes and the animals like it very much because it mimics a natural hiding place.
Mice's urine smells stronger, just like that of Rats. The animals mark their territory by leaving a drop of urine on everything. This means that parts of the mouse enclosure can quickly start to smell. We therefore recommend using a " Urine Spray" for parts where urine can penetrate.
For wooden accessories it can help to paint them with clear varnish. Lacquer from the hardware store may not be used for this because of the toxic substances. A special paint for animals is best used for this.
Ground cover for the African pygmy mouse
It is important that the bedding for Mice is excavable, that is to say that they can make tunnels and holes in it, which preferably remain. This can be achieved by choosing ground cover that is already diggable in itself or by mixing ground cover crops with each other so that they are diggable. An example of excavable soil cover is the Humus and the Holenzand , but also Cotton & Cotton . A nice mix is, for example, the mix of Cotton & Hemp Fiber , Cotton & Wood Fiber or a mix of Wood Fiber , Hemp Fiber and Hay. Ground covers such as Back 2 Nature are not suitable because the animals cannot dig in them. An ideal height of the bottom bed for digging in is around 20 cm.
Just like rats, mice have sensitive airways, so the bedding should not be dusty.
African Dwarf Mice are nest builders
Mice are real nest builders. They also like to cover their nest with soft nesting material . Making a nest is therefore part of the natural behavior of a mouse. Therefore, always give the Muisjes 15-25 grams of nesting material. Mice nesting material must be nice and soft, absorb moisture and have fragile fibers so that the animals cannot become entangled in it. Materials such as cotton, hemp, toilet paper and hay are ideal.
African Dwarf Mice food
There is no specific diet for African Dwarf Mice. They are granivores (seed eaters) by nature. The diet of these mice consists mainly of seeds and a little vegetable food in the form of herbs , but also animal proteins. Mice catch small insects in the wild, so it is good if their diet also contains animal proteins.
Gnawing material to wear down the teeth
African Dwarf Mice have a natural need to gnaw. This is because they belong to the rodents and have growing incisors. It is therefore necessary for Mice to be able to gnaw on something to wear down their teeth. If mice have too few opportunities to wear down the teeth, the teeth can become too long or grow crooked, with all the consequences that entails.
Most Mice chew very actively on rodents. However, it is a matter of taste and on the other hand a matter of need how much the animals gnaw on it. If a Mouse has no need to gnaw because the teeth stay long due to the food, hay or other nibbles, it will gnaw less at rodents. It is good to always offer natural rodent wood so that the animals can always gnaw when they have a need to gnaw.
Reproduction of the African Pygmy Mouse
African Dwarf Mice are social animals, the whole group is involved in the upbringing of the young. The parents take care of the young until they start to become independent from the 18th day.
The female is willing (in heat) and ready to mate every 4 - 9 days. This takes about 12 - 24 hours. If a successful mating has taken place on these days, the young are born after about 24 days.
The difference between males and females can be seen in the distance between the genital opening and the anus. This distance is greater in a male than in the female.
Sexual maturity : females after 4 - 5 weeks