Four-striped Grass Mouse

Rhabdomys pumilio

The diurnal Four-striped Grass Mouse is easily identified by its distinctive coat markings. Including their tail they grow to between 18 and 21cm long and weigh between 30 and 55g.

Four-striped Grass Mice have a very wide habitat tolerance provided there is a good covering of grass, occurring from desert fringes to mountains up to 3,500m high. They are also often found in close association with human habitation (quite unafraid around humans) and can become a pest. They excavate a system of burrows, usually shared by a few individuals, with the entrances hidden among vegetation (or in the lodges of the Bush Karoo Rat), and use a network of pathways radiating from the burrow to search for food. Four-striped Grass Mice are omnivores, feeding mostly on a wide range of green plants, seeds and invertebrates, but have also been recorded consuming bird chicks, eggs and even babies of their own kind.

Females give birth to litters of 2 to 9 helpless young in the summer months after a 25 day gestation, usually in grass nests within their burrows. They can have several litters in a season. The little ones start exploring when they are 2 weeks old and can start breeding when they’re 2 months old. Their life expectancy in the wild is only 18 months.

The Four-striped Grass Mouse is distributed patchily in eastern and central Africa but occurs widely over Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa (except in the Lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo). The IUCN describes it as abundant and lists the Four-Striped Grass Mouse as being of least concern.


28 thoughts on “Four-striped Grass Mouse

  1. Brom Ponie

    I have a growing fascination with them, and I hope to welcome a few to my garden in the future. Mind sharing plant types or other food stuffs that they eat?
    (Afrikaanse name is ook welkom)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Good on you for working with nature in your garden, Brom Ponie!

      Like most rodents, the Four-striped Grass Mouse is omnivorous, but their staple diet is probably a wide variety of indigenous grass seeds – if you have a bed or two of rank, decorative grasses that seed for a long time and can serve both as food and shelter, and supplement that with bought seeds (such as the mixes you can find at your grocer or a pet food wholesaler) they should feel quite at home!


  2. perdebytjie

    Een van my gunsteling klein diertjies. Daar is nogal heelwat van hulle in die Kgalagadi, veral by piekniekplekke. Een het my al op my toon gebyt…seker gedink dis ‘n stuk brood! Was vrek seer en dit het gebloei…pasop dus!
    Pragtige foto’s, Dries.


    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Goeiste, maar hulle IS parmantig, ne, Dina! Ek geniet dit altyd om te kyk hoe hulle werskaf, en ek verstom my daaraan dat hulle so dapper is om helder oor dag so oop-en-bloot rond te skarrel!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. kim blades, writer

    A very cute little guy. My dogs and cat keep the mouse and rat population down in our garden. I think the rodents give our residence a wide berth now as they don’t last long once they have entered the garden. Lovely photos and it’s nice to read about the life and habits of our wild mice.



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