The African Pygmy Mouse (Mus minutoides) is one of the smallest mammals and that makes them very cute! They are no larger than 3 to 6 cm. They are real viewing 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
Life expectancy : 2 years
Mice are generally active and curious animals. They are social animals that must be kept together. Thanks to their long tail, they are also good climbers and can keep their balance well. This also helps them to walk well on the hand and because they see depth, they also stay on the hand.
The African Pygmy 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 Pygmy Mouse
Always read carefully before you decide to get African Dwarf Mice. They are crepuscular 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 of a viewing animal. In the evenings you will be amazed!
Tip! Mice love spray millet!
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 Pygmy Mouse
African Dwarf Mice are social animals that must be kept together. In the wild they live in colonies with often one dominant male. It is best to put together a group of women or men at a young age.
A wire cage is not suitable for African Dwarf Mice. This is due to their small size. There is not a single barred cage that they cannot squeeze through. A terrarium is therefore the best housing for an African pygmy 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 land area must be calculated. A good enclosure gives the animals the opportunity to exhibit their natural behavior. Mice are very active in the wild, they would like to continue to do so in captivity, they do not want to get bored. The Mouse needs an extensive enclosure with plenty of play and climbing opportunities. Thanks to their long tail, mice can keep their balance very well, making them great climbers.
Hamsterscaping is also great fun for Colored Mice!
In our home, a good mouse enclosure translates into a spacious enclosure with lots of challenge and plenty of hiding places. A terrarium is the best choice thanks to its closed nature. It is important that a terrarium allows good ventilation, so preferably it has two grilles (top and bottom). This is especially important in summer when temperatures rise above 25°C.
An exercise wheel is a challenge for these little animals. There are currently few running wheels that are light enough for the African pygmy mouse.
African pygmy mouse cannot tolerate low temperatures
African Dwarf Mice do not tolerate low temperatures very well. Due to their small size, the body requires 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 provide the mice with extra warmth.
House for an African dwarf mouse
African Dwarf Mice are lucky! because many houses that are made for hamsters also have a good size for these mice. African Pygmy 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 escape, they feel a lot safer. Mice like to sleep together, so at least one house in the enclosure must 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 also need a place where they can retreat for a while.
Grass houses are also very natural for mice and the animals really like them because they imitate a natural hiding place.
The urine of mice smells stronger, just like that of rats. The animals mark their territory by leaving a drop of urine everywhere. 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 should not be used for this purpose because of the toxic substances. It is best to use a special paint for animals for this.
Ground cover for the African pygmy mouse
It is important that the ground cover is diggable for mice , which means that they can make tunnels and holes in it, which preferably remain standing. This can be achieved by choosing ground cover that is already diggable in itself or mixing ground covers with each other so that they are diggable. An example of a diggable ground 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 animals cannot dig in them. An ideal height of the ground bed for digging is around 20 cm.
Mice, like rats, 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 line their nest with soft nesting material . Making a nest is therefore part of the natural behavior of a mouse. Therefore, always give the mice 15-25 grams of nesting material. Mouse 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 pygmy mice feeding
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 bit of 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 continuously 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 their teeth, the teeth can become too long or grow crooked, with all the consequences that entails.
Gnawing wood is used by rodents to wear down their teeth. Because rodents' teeth are always growing, they need to be gnawed regularly so that they do not grow too long and crooked.
Most mice gnaw very actively on gnawing wood. However, it is a matter of taste and on the other hand a matter of need as to how much the animals gnaw on it. If a mouse has no need to gnaw because its teeth are kept at their length through food, hay or other nibbles, it will gnaw less on wood. It is good to always provide natural gnawing wood so that the animals can always gnaw when they need to gnaw.
Reproduction of the African Pygmy Mouse
African Dwarf Mice are social animals, the entire group is involved in the upbringing of the young. The parents care for the young until they start to become independent from the 18th day onwards.
The female is willing (in heat) and ready to mate every 4 - 9 days. This takes approximately 12 - 24 hours. If successful mating has taken place on these days, the young will be born after approximately 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 for a male than for a female.
Sexual maturity : females after 4 - 5 weeks
Breeding maturity : females 12 weeks
Number of litters : 3-4 per year
Litter size : 2 - 14
Gestation period : 21 days
Birth weight : 1.5 - 2 g, nest stayers
Weaning time : from week 3