🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Striped Grass Mouse

Rhabdomys pumilio : Common name - Four-striped grass mouse. Streepmuis in Afrikaans

A Striped Field mouse in my garden. He's quite tame as I often put out seeds for them, and here I was within a meter from him. He was actually very disgusted, drying himself off as I had accidentally gotten him wet while watering the garden with the hosepipe.

I tolerate these lovely little creatures (unlike rats!) as they are totally harmless and very rarely venture into the house. I've only ever seen this pair in my garden and was actually hoping to see little ones scurrying about!

Rhabdomys is a largely Southern African genus of muroid rodents slightly larger than house mice. 

Here they are snacking on some sunflower seeds I put out for them in my garden. 

The Striped Mouse, so named because of the four longitudinal black stripes down its back, is an opportunistic omnivore, and has a varied diet. In certain areas they are mainly granivorous, while in others they may eat more plant material than seeds. They also enjoy a wide variety of other vegetable matter and insects.

The striped mouse helps to pollinate many Protea species, as pollen clings to its head while it is feeding. When the mouse moves off to feed on other neighboring flowers of the same species, it carries the pollen with it, thus assisting in the fertilization of these flowers. They normally excavate a burrow at the base of a grass thicket, ensuring that the entrance is well hidden, and lining the chambers of their burrows with soft, leafy debris; alternatively, they construct a ground-level nest under cover of dense stands of tall grass.

Striped Mouse forage by day, particularly in the early morning and late afternoon, and are often seen among the tall grasses growing on the perimeter of cultivated land. In central Africa, where striped mice are also found, they breed throughout the year, but in the south the breeding season is usually confined to the summer months (September to May).

During the breeding season the adult females appear to be territorial, with limited home ranges which probably overlap the large home ranges of the males. There are from 2 - 9 young per litter.
Some Info from "EcoTravel"

Location : My garden in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa Camera : Fuji FinePix 2800Zoom 



  1. What a pretty mouse. Lovely when wild creatures get to trust humans.

    1. It's a joy when encountering them in the garden and they don't even run away John, but their response to seeing my puppy is immediate disappearance!

  2. What a handsome animal! I have to ask - may I have your permission to use your photos for a drawing or painting?
    Thank you, Maree.

    1. Hi Kathryn, I agree they are utterly handsome! And of course you may use the photos to do paintings, I'd love to see them when you post it!

  3. Handsome...yes! But.....a mouse is a mouse. ;-)

    1. Oh ha ha ha ha! I actually don't even mind ordinary mice in my house Liz (even though they do summarily get evicted!), they're so cute and small! But now, RATS! that's a totally different matter! I go absolutely berserk when I see a rat in the house, even in the garden, and will spend HOURS trying to find it and get rid of it!

  4. Hi Maree.
    I was a wildlife artist in KZN for 23 years, and now a writer and illustrator. I was chosen for a writer's course through Ethekwini Municipality after spending 6 years on one manuscript (writing is a painful process). Just after the course I wrote an entire children's fable in 24 hours. The upshot is one of my main characters is your/our little striped mouse (the other Mamlambo, the river monster) who makes fools of all the African animals. I was so happy to find you. Could you tell me anything about 'our' little striped mouse that isn't on Google, eg, their natural food, etc. Anything really. I would be most appreciative. Warm regards, Robyn
    ps, I chose anon as I didn't know how to activate the other accounts. Sorry 'bout that.

    1. Hi Robyn, how nice to hear from you about your exploits in art and writing, that is so wonderful! And I understand about commenting as Anonymous, because Blogger makes the whole thing of replying very difficult sometimes!

      I don't know much about our little striped mouse, except that they love the sunflower seeds and mixed fowl food I put out for them. The mixed fowl consists of mealies, sunflower seeds, kaffir corn, and a few other unknowns! They also take bread every now and then and I've actually seen them carting a peach pip off to their nest. I know I say in my post above that I don't mind them in the house, but since then I've changed my mind! Just a week of not moving the couch to dust underneath and they had moved in, making a comfortable, warm nest out of the whole bottom of my curtain resting on the floor. When we lifted the couch, there was mommy (or daddy, no kids) just sitting in the nest and looking at me, not particularly perturbed at being discovered. I shoo-ed him and he calmly made his way towards the door, disappearing into the garden. And their memory must be good because I had to keep the lounge door closed for about a week because every now and then I saw one of them trying to get inside again.

      They're not tree-climbers like the rats and seem to prefer the earth under their feet, also not venturing up on the roof like the rats do. And oh yes, they're not afraid to stand their ground! Once, when feeding on some sunflower seeds outside, a rooster came by to also have a snack and tried to bully Rhabdomys into leaving the food alone, but, no fear, he just darted behind the rooster to the other side and carried on snacking as if nothing had happened, even venturing close to the rooster's feet and picking at some 'better' seeds than where has was before.

      I am sure they're very intelligent (as are rats!) and probably would make a lovely pet if caught young enough. But unless anyone is injured, I leave nature well alone.

      Nice chatting to you and thank you for stopping by! Regards to you too.

    2. PS : I you are, or were, on-line, please could you give me a link to your art and book? Would really appreciate that!



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