Acomys cahirinus

Acomys cahirinus (Desmarest, 1819)

Common Names

Cairo Spiny Mouse (English), Egyptian Spiny Mouse (English), الفأر أبو شوك القاهرى (Arabic), أبو شوكة (Arabic)

Languages: English



Cairo spiny mouse vary in size from small to medium. Fur spiny extending from behind the shoulder onto rump but not present on the side. Body color varies from pale to dark brownish cinnamon on the upperparts. Head dark. Underparts and feet white. Suborbital region small and white. Snout pointed. Ears large, erect, pigmented, with white basal and posterior patches and covered with whitish hairs. Eyes prominent and bright. Tail as long as the head and body length, hairless and scaly. Tail color grayish on the dorsal side and buff on the ventral side.


Status in Egypt

Native, resident.



Nocturnal animal. Omnivorous, feeding on snails, insects, spiders, scorpions and sometimes on various plant parts. Lives in social groups. Cairo spiny mouse drinks large quantities of water because of high evaporation rate through skin and can survive without food or water for three to nine days, but cannot tolerate cold weather. The tail and large patches of dorsal skin come off easily when handled, an anti-predator device. Cairo spiny mouse breed throughout the year with peak in breeding activity from February to July. Female gives birth to litters of one to five young after a gestation period of around 42 days. The young are weaned after two weeks and reaches sexual maturity after two or three months. Cairo spiny mouse can live for three years.


Body length: 75–138 mm. Tail length: 85–138 mm. Weight: 21–64 gm.

Ecology and Distribution

Distribution in Egypt

Widespread (Nile Valley, Delta, Eastern Desert, oases, Gebel Uweinat).


Cairo spiny mouse inhabits in rocky arid regions, desert gardens, settlements, huts and houses.


  • Acomys chudeaui Kollman, 1911 (synonym)
  • Acomys cahirinus (É. Geoffroy, 1803) (synonym)


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..