Cairo Spiny Mouse: 15 Facts You Won't Believe!

Interesting Cairo spiny mouse facts for everyone.

The Cairo spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus) is a species of unique precocial rodents, also known as the common spiny mouse. It is a nocturnal species of mouse belonging to family Muridae and its distribution is in Africa, the Middle East, and southern Asia. One mice species that has emerged as an important animal model for tissue regeneration research is the African spiny mice. Its natural habitats mostly include rocky areas and hot deserts. This mouse is also known as the first and only known rodent species that exhibits spontaneous menstruation and decidualization upon maturity. Some rodents are very active in the early morning and evening.

This Acomys genus rodent is mostly referred to as a spiny mouse because of its prominent spiny hairs that emerge from their dorsal skin. Their most notable characteristic is precocial development. They feed on seeds, small insects, and desert plants. Reproduction takes place during rainy seasons. Precocial development, communal breeding, and a suite of physiologic adaptations to desert life are the several interesting life characteristics that these Egyptian spiny mouse have exhibited. The gestation period is of five to six weeks which is long for a mouse.

To know more about other rodents, you can also check out our articles on the nutria and the harvest mouse.

Cairo Spiny Mouse

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Seeds, desert plant, snails, and insects

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

1-4 pups

How much do they weigh?

1.5-3 oz (43-85 g)

How long are they?

3.75-5 in (9.5-12.7 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Sandy-brown, grayish-brown, or whitish

Skin Type


What are their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Savannas, woodlands, vegetated deserts, and rocky regions


Africa, the Middle East, and southern Asia





Scientific Name

Acomys cahirinus





Cairo Spiny Mouse Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Cairo spiny mouse?

The Cairo spiny mouse (Cahirinus acomys) is a species of rodent, from the family Muridae. Some other types of mice are the wood mouse and the white-footed mouse.

What class of animal does a Cairo spiny mouse belong to?

The Cairo spiny mouse is of class Mammalia, from the phylum Chordata.

How many Cairo spiny mice are there in the world?

The total number of Cairo spiny mice is unknown but they are found in deserts and frequently kept as exotic pets in other parts of world. If estimated, they may be large in number but the definite number is unknown.

Where does a Cairo spiny mouse live?

The Cairo spiny mouse is predominantly found in the desert.=. This mouse is native to northern Africa with its range extending from Mauritania, Morocco, and Algeria to the west of Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Egypt.

What is a Cairo spiny mouse's habitat?

Habitats of this mouse can be found in dry stony places with sparse vegetation and they are often found near human dwellings. They are commonly found among cliffs, canyons, and in gravelly plains with shrubby vegetation. They may be present among date palms, but they are not common in sandy habitats. The Cairo spiny mouse habitat, which occurs across much of northern and eastern Africa, occupies the widest range of spiny mouse kingdom phylum.

Who do Cairo spiny mice live with?

The Cairo spiny mouse should be housed in groups when possible and they live in groups with a dominant male.

How long does a Cairo spiny mouse live?

The total life span of this spiny mice is between four to seven years.

How do they reproduce?

The reproduction process of the Egyptian spiny mouse mainly starts during rainy season, between September and April, when availability of food is greater. Both the male and female are sexually mature at two to three months of age. Captive females are reported to continually mate and produce offspring in the lab for years under optimal conditions. The gestation period is between 38-42 days and they normally have litters of three to six pups. It is common that females will have up to six pups in a single litter.

Females may become pregnant again immediately after giving birth and the juveniles mature at two to three months of age. Among certain mice species, females may assist and help mothers during birth by licking and biting the umbilical cord and cleaning the newborn rodents. Around nine litters can be conceived throughout a year. Sexual maturity among these mice can be seen with the emergence of spiny hairs. One species of spiny mouse was recently discovered to have a menstrual cycle which would make them important as a model organism to study menstruation and reproductive disorders.

What is their conservation status?

The Cairo spiny mouse conservation status is Least Concern according to IUCN. This means that the population of these mice is currently stable.

Cairo Spiny Mouse Fun Facts

What do Cairo spiny mice look like?

The Cairo spiny mouse has a body coloration of sandy-brown or grayish-brown above and whitish beneath. Along the ridge of their back, they have a line of spine-like bristles. The snout is slender and pointed, the ears are large and slightly pointed, and the tail is devoid of hairs. Cairo spiny mice are small animals with bare, scaled tails. Cairo spiny mice grow to a head and body length of between 3.75-5 in (9.5-12.7 cm). They weigh about 1.5-3 oz (43-85 g). Genetic evidence suggests that the Acomys chudeaui species may be more closely related to gerbils than to common mice, despite their anatomic similarity to members of the genus Mus. The skin of these mammals will not grow back and the injured portion of the tail will eventually die and fall off. Young animals can feel pain, love, and fear same as the adult ones.

The Cairo spiny mouse has a light brown to white and yellowish body coloration.

How cute are they?

Cairo spiny mice have a cute appearance with their fluffy look. The young ones of the Cairo spiny mice range are much cuter than the adults.

How do they communicate?

The spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus) seem to use chemical signals in order to communicate with each other to warn others of dangerous predators. This species also perceives the environment through their other visual range, tactile, and acoustic senses. Some other communication modes used by this species are pheromones. They communicate with each other in groups and make external links between them.

How big is a Cairo spiny mouse?

The spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus) is 3.75-5 in (9.5-12.7 cm) in length and is five times larger than a gobi jerboa.

How fast can a Cairo spiny mouse move?

The speed of the spiny mouse is up to 6.2 mph (10 kph).

How much does a Cairo spiny mouse weigh?

A Cairo spiny mouse, or a spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus), adult weighs between 1.5-3 oz (43-85 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male spiny mice of this species are called buck spiny mice and female spiny mice of this species are known as doe spiny mice.

What would you call a baby Cairo spiny mouse?

A Cairo spiny mouse baby is called a pup spiny mice.

What do they eat?

These animals eat are known to eat anything and whatever they can find.  They are omnivorous and their diet includes  seeds, nuts, fruit, green leaves, spiders, mollusks, and carrion. When they live in the neighborhood of humans, they consume crops, grain, and stored food. The females, young ones and males are opportunistic and their diet contains of seeds, fruits, dried plants, spiders, small insects, and even snails. These mice have also been known to feed on Egyptian mummies. Due to the Cairo spiny mouse adaptations, they enter houses, eat plants, and human crops. They move in search of food and intake anything which is edible. In Egypt, some Cairo spiny mice eat dates, while others have been reported to consume the dried flesh and bone marrow of mummies in the tomb of Gebel Drunka, southwest of Asyut.

Are they dangerous?

They are not so dangerous as they are friendly in nature, however Cairo spiny mouse adaptation makes them quite scary. The main Cairo spiny mouse predator is Blandford's foxes.

Would they make a good pet?

Being very social creatures, spiny mice should never be kept as pets alone. They live most happily in colonies or small groups. Humans keep them as pet in some areas.

Did you know...

Young mice are weaned around five to six weeks and, they reach sexual maturity at about six to nine weeks. Females may become pregnant again immediately after giving birth, and have three to four litters in a year of up to five young.

The length of tail is almost the same as its body.

The Cairo spiny mouse subspecies are also shown by the Cairo spiny mouse map.

How did the Cairo spiny mouse get its name and what other names does it have ?

The term spiny mouse generally derived from the fact that they have spine-like bristles. Princeton University scientists suggest that they resemble a Mongolian gerbil at the molecular level, even though a Cairo spiny mouse looks more like an Old World mouse or rodent. They got their name due to the fact that they have similar appearance to mice of the genus Mus. Sometimes, they are also known as an Egyptian spiny mouse.

What the difference between a Cairo spiny mouse and an African spiny mouse?

Cairo spiny mouse vs African spiny mouse are quite different according to the scientists at Princeton University. Spine mice live in family groups that consist of a dominant male and groups of females that have a polygyny mating system. Although captive females cycle year round, a few pups take birth from December through February. The diet of both species of mice are nearly same, and the litters are about two to four at one time. The kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species is the same for both species of mice.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our dormouse facts and gerbil facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable mouse coloring pages.



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