Taken in my garden, Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa
This little Striped Grass Mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio) or Four-striped Grass Mouse was quite unperturbed at my presence this afternoon as he shared some corn with all the other garden birds. I often see a pair together snacking on seeds I put out.
As its common name suggests, the four-striped grass mouse is easily identified by the 4 distinct dark longitudinal stripes running the length of the back. Colour varies from dark grizzled russet brown to a grey-white. The sides and underparts are lighter but vary from off-white to pale grey-brown. The backs of the ears and the snout are russet to yellowish brown. The upper surfaces of the feet are usually lighter in colour than the body. Research has shown that the average body size does vary in different geographical areas, and that tails can be shorter or equal to the body length.
Length 19-26cm, weight about 43g. Diurnal and occuring in all parts of South Africa except most of Limpopo. Prefers fairly dense cover and feeds mostly on green vegetable matter, seeds and insects. Also likes the soft parts of the bracts and flowers of Proteas thus becoming an important agent in the pollination of some species. They excavate burrows, sometimes to a depth of 50cm. Striped mouse are active during the day, but are seldom active at night as they cannot maintain their body temperature if the environment is below 5 degrees C.
Afrikaans : Streepmuis
Die Streepmuis (Rhabdomys pumilio) is ’n muis wat in die hele Suid-Afrika voorkom behalwe in die grootste gedeelte van Limpopo en die noorde KwaZulu-Natal. Die streepmuis is bleek rooibruin in die weste tot donker grysbruin in die ooste van die area waarin hy voorkom. ’n Kenmerk van die soogdiertjie is die vier strepe op die rug. Die streepmuis is daglewend en word tot 19cm lank en weeg 30 – 55g. Hierdieie knaagdiertjie woon in grasryke dele in halfwoestyn tot bergwêreld met hoë reënval en is daglewend. Die streepmuis grawe gate onder ou gras of by die basis van ’n bos met voetpaadjies na die weigebied. Hulle eet sade en ander plantmateriaal. Daar word gewoonlik 5-6 kleintjies in die somer gebore.