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Multimammate Mouse (Rattus natalensis) Care Sheet


Please refer to the General Small Rodent Care Sheet before reading this section!


| Description | Zoology | Interesting Facts | Keeping & Breeding | Breeding | Natural Behaviour | Captive Behaviour | Related Topics | References |
| Mastomyx For Sale | Email This Page |

Mastomyx Description:

Mastomyx appears to be the intermediate between a rat and a mouse. Terms like “supermice” have also been used for this reason. They rarely exceeds a 100 g / 3.5 oz. Hoppers to adult stages are covered with a moderately long and fine hair coat. At birth pups are covered with some long individual strands of hair.

The wild colour varies from slate in the young, agouti as it becomes mature to a more drab agouti when old. Other colours recorded include a paler agouti with red eyes and a white background with black patches.

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Mastomyx Zoology:

 Multimammate mice are found all over Africa. They are mainly found in dense and cultivated areas. Being fair climbers they also thrive in human habitats.

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Other Interesting Facts:

Multimammate mice are very susceptible to Pasterella pestis and bilharziasis (Bilharzia mansoni). Being very susceptible to P. pestis, Mastomyx are an important vector of plaque in South Africa. They are also shown to be very prone to develop spontaneous adenocarcenoma of the glandular stomach (stomach cancer) in captivity. This condition is extremely rare in other animal species, but is one of the commonest cancers in man.

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Keeping & Breeding Mastomyx:

The following must be taken in consideration before keeping and breeding mastomyx:

Although there are some exceptions with these species, rodents and their cages generally smell bad very easily. Males tend to stink more than females. The only way to overcome stinking problems and prevent discomforts and diseases is to clean the cage once too three times a week (depending on the number of animals per cage and on the type and size of the cage) and by preventing overcrowding.

Pet mastomyx make good pets, but they are short lived animals and need lots of attention.

To keep and breed mastomyx you will need the following basics:

  • a cage, cages or a large type of container
  • space
  • food & water
  • bedding
  • a shallow container for food
  • a shallow container for water
  • keeping and/or breeding stock

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Breeding Mastomyx:

A sexual active buck can be placed with up to six does (6:1 ratio). Two or more males per cage (especially small cages) can end up in brutal fights for domination which will ultimately end up in reduced fertility and matings. When a cage is too large a male can have difficulty in "catching" and mating with females. In this situation more males and females can be added although it might not be of any good. When using males in rotating systems, one should be at least three weeks with a female for ovulation and mating to take place.

Mastomyx kittns are can be weaned at the age of four to five weeks after birth. The suckling stage is very important for the development of any mammal. Milk is a very good source of calcium and proteins. The longer babies can be kept suckling the better. Hoppers are usually sold directly after they are weaned. Generally young can be weaned a few days after they start to eat solid food.

Puberty (sexual maturity) starts about six to twelve weeks after birth and is dependant on weight.

Natural Behaviour:

Although Multimammate mice thrive in human buildings, they usually nest underground. These mice use the deserted burrows of other animals whenever possible. Several families live in one burrow. Being proliferous breeders, Multimammate mice are very abundant when food is in excess. These animal have remarkably clean habits, even in captivity. Burrows inhabited by these mice rarely contain droppings. As with most rodent species, Mastomyx show in increased activity during the hours between dusk and dawn (nocturnal).

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Captive Behaviour:

The captive behaviour is said to be very compatible with that of its natural environment. The first and most noticeable habit when compared with other captive bred mice is that they are very nervous and conscious of danger. Because of this they can become very difficult to handle and often bites without provocation.

Mastomyx seems to be very tolerant of other rodent neighbours, both of its own and of other species. We have successfully cross-fostered and weaned Mastomyx pups with a tame lactating colony of House mice (Mus musculus). Groups (bi- or unisexual) live together without fighting, although ear nibbling, tail base biting and scuffling do occur, especially amongst males. This is apparent even during breeding periods.

Mated individuals have remarkably clean habits and attempt to dispose of refuge by depositing through any available hole in the cage. We have found the deposition site to be the water container. Unisexual groups are reported to lack this habit. It is not surprising that these animals also spend a lot of time washing themselves. This habit starts almost immediately after waking up. When these animals use their water source as waste disposal these facilities should be washed and disinfected daily.

Although they show an increased interest when there is activity in the room, they are mainly night living or nocturnal. In captivity it was shown that Mastomyx have two peaks of activity, one at dusk and a longer one at sunrise.

As in nature, these mice shows burrowing behaviour if given the opportunity to do so. Investigations showed that when placed in a cage with loose moist sand they will dig holes for the first two days thereafter they will dig tunnels in which they shelter. Nesting behaviour was also obvious.

"If you think I should add more information to this section or think that something is incorrect, contact me and let me know. I would love to hear your ideas or methods you might use that is different than ours."

Last updated 21 December 2008 by Renier Delport

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"Always remember only to buy healthy animals from reputable pet shops and breeders. Make sure to buy animals that are captive bred in your own country and that it is not illegally imported or caught from the wild.

If you've read something funny, or heard something that sounds out of place, use your common sense before applying. It is extremely important to do research from more than one source (before buying or accepting a new animal). Browse other internet pages, read related magazines and talk to experienced people."

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Mastomyx Related Topics:

Mastomyx As Food
Other Care Sheets
Price List

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Mastomyx References:

Veenstra, A. J. F. The Behaviour Of The Multimammate Mouse , Rattus (Mastomyx) natalensis. Cancer Research Unit, South African Institute For Medical Research, Johannesburg.

Miller, S. A. & Harley, J. B. 1999 Zoology, Fourth Edition, McGraw-Hill.

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| Description | Zoology | Interesting Facts | Keeping & Breeding | Breeding | Natural Behaviour | Captive Behaviour | Related Topics | References |
| Mastomyx For Sale | Email This Page |




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