It’s not every day a chance like this comes along to admire the exquisite details of the world’s smallest mouse species Mus minutoides. Here he is sitting in a corner, (WordPress Photo Challenge) though not eating Christmas pie.
There is a story attached to this scene: a family of Cape pygmy mice have taken up residence in my neighbour’s kitchen and to outwit the little beauties, the man of the house came up with an ingenuous design for a trap. This is no ordinary mouse trap, it’s a deluxe model, the spacious 5***** Hilton of mouse traps. If you’d like to read about the delightful battle of wills between man and mouse here is the link to “Our Urban Wild” blog post. The catering service is excellent too – seeds, grated cheese and a miniature water bowl are provided. My task is to release the captured creatures to a carefully chosen location. Where we hope they continue to multiply. With a gestation period of just 20 days and the young weaned and independent at 4 weeks the population growth can be robust.
Further reading extract from Wikipedia –
“Grey to brick-red overall, it is pale on the underside and has small but prominent triangular ears. Adults are between 30 and 80 mm (1.2 and 3.1 in) long, with a 20 to 40 mm (0.79 to 1.57 in) tail, and weigh from 3 to 12 g (0.11 to 0.42 oz).
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 have led to many XY individuals actually being female.”