Egyptian spiny mice are rodents. They are common in rocky areas with dense vegetation in northwest Africa, and across northeast Africa from Libya through Egypt to Eritrea. They are herbivores.
Egyptian spiny mice get their name from bristly-looking guard hairs that resemble spines. When a bird or other predator eats a spiny mouse, these bristly hairs scratch the predator's throat. After that, the predator avoids other spiny mice.
Spiny mice behavior and facts
- Spiny mice primarily eat vegetative matter, but can adapt to anything edible.
- They are commensal with people (two species live near another; one benefits from the other, while the second species is unaffected). Spiny mice live in and eat from gardens and date groves but are not considered a pest by the humans who tend those gardens.
- Spiny mice are social and live in large family groups. Males tend to be aggressive toward each other.
- Females may act as surrogate moms, helping other females give birth and even nursing their babies.
From birth to death
- Gestation: 38 to 42 days
- Females give birth to 2 to 4 young. To compare, North American mice species may give birth to 10 to 12 young.
- Sexual maturity: 2 to 3 months
- Lifespan: 4 to 5 years
- Weight: 3 to 5 ounces
- Length: 5 inches, not including tail
Spiny mice, the Oregon Zoo and you
Spiny mice live in the zoo's Africa Savanna exhibit. They eat a diet of formulated rodent pellets, fresh greens, carrots, birdseed and woody browse. They are active, energetic and amusing to watch.
Spiny mice at the Oregon Zoo
- 1 male
- 5 females
- Only one on exhibit at a time