Tag Archives: Four-striped Grass Mouse

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.