Acomys dimidiatus

Acomys dimidiatus

Common Names

Arabian Spiny Mouse (English), Eastern Spiny Mouse (English), فأر سيناء الشوكى (Arabic)

Languages: English

Overview

Description

Eastern spiny mouse has coarse, dark tan and spine-like fur on the upperparts of the body extended from behind the shoulder onto rump. Body color varies from pale-brown to brown in color on the upperparts especially mid-dorsum while the underparts and feet white. The ear is large with white patches. Whitish suborbital region. Tail long, slender, hairless except on closer inspection has short bristles, shorter than the head and body length, upper surface of the tail pale grayish brown and  buff or white on the ventral surface. Palm and sole of the feet buff and without hairs. Claws whitish.

Conservation

Status in Egypt

Native, resident.

Description

Behaviour

Largely nocturnal mammal. Sociable species, living in large groups. Omnivorous, feeding on snails, insects, scorpions, spiders, and also various plant parts. Eastern spiny mice can survive without food or water for nearly nine days and can erect its dorsal spines to enlarge its size and hence deceive predators. The tail and large patches of dorsal skin come off easily when handled; also act as an anti-predator device. Eastern spiny mice breed throughout the year with peak in breeding activity from February to July and female gives birth to a litter of two to five young after a gestation period of around 42 days.

Size

Body length: 93–125 mm. Tail length: 85–123 mm. Weight: 37–48 gm.

Ecology and Distribution

Distribution in Egypt

Localized (South Sinai).

Habitat

Spiny mice inhabits in mountains, wadis near wild plants, and in Bedouin gardens.

Taxonomy

  • Mus dimidiatus Cretzschmar, 1826 (synonym)
  • Acomys flavidus Thomas, 1917 (synonym)
  • Acomys cahirinus (Cretzschmar, 1826) ssp. dimidiatus (synonym)

References

I., Helmy., & D. Osborn. (1980).  The Contemporary Land Mammals of Egypt (including Sinai) Field Museum of Natural History, no. 5, Cairo..
M., Basuony., F. Gilbert., & S. Zalat. (2010).  Mammals of Egypt: Atlas, Red Data Listing & Conservation, Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs, Cairo..
R., Hoath. (2003).  A Field Guide to the Mammals of Egypt, The American University in Cairo Press, Cairo..