The Natal Multimammate Mouse
The common African rat, the African soft-furred rat
Species: Mastomys Natalensis
The Natal Multimammate Mouse is found in most African countries. Its habitat is subtropical and tropical forests, savannahs, scrubs and gardens. It also occurs in urban and agricultural areas.
This species has 8-12 pairs of mamillas, hence the name. Regarding the coloration, there are two types: agouti (these mice are gray with black eyes) and argent (red-yellow or light brown coat, red eyes). Their coat is long, soft and silky to the touch. Average life span is 2 years for females and 3 years for males. This is nocturnal species.
These mice range from 13 to 15 cm in length. Adult specimens weigh around 60 g.
These mice are very sociable, curious and active, they are fun to watch. But they constantly need attention; if they lack it, they can get skittish and even bite. Natal multimammate mice are good jumpers. Their coat doesn’t have specific smell, so they require less care than common mice.
It is best to keep your natal multimammate mouse in a metal cage because those rodents easily cope with wood. Bottom has to be protected with bars too. You can cover the bottom of the cage with straw, hay or paper. Don’t use wood cuttings since they can irritate mucous membranes of mice. Mice are neat animals, so it is enough to clean the cage once a week. They can be litter box trained. It is best to get automatic feeders and water bottles and locate them outside the cage. The cage should also contain exercise wheels and ladders, so you’re your mouse won’t be bored. It is a good idea to get a special house for rodents too. You won’t need to bathe your mouse, it is enough to put in a cage a bowl with fine sand, and the animal will take care of its fur itself.
You can use commercial dry mixes for rats and mice as a diet staple. You can add to it cooked chicken and beef, seeds, nuts, finely cut apples, carrots, pumpkins, cucumbers, pears, cabbage.
Natal multimammate mice are very sociable, so it is best to keep them in groups (one male and several females). If a mouse is kept alone, it gets depressed, stops eating and gets a lot of health problems.
Fancy rats are prone to get viral, bacterial and fungal diseases that can occur due to contaminated food or water or through the contact with infected animals. Also diseases can be transmitted with the parasites’ bites.