Spiny Mice

Information on Nile Spiny Mice

Nile spiny mice are dark, lead grey in color, even the babies. The belly is slightly lighter than the back. Feet, toes that is, are white at least on the individuals I have. One even has a white spot under the chin. The eyes are black.

The spines are more delicate than with Egyptian spiny mice and they are not as widely placed. They are much smaller in size than Egyptians and their type is more slender. The head is more narrow and slender that an Egyptian's and it looks longer in proportion to the body. The ears and the eyes look enormous in proportion to the head. The tail is longer than with the Egyptians, approximately 1,5 times the length of the body.

The temperament is very lively and they are, if possible, even more eager to jump than other spiny mice. However, Nile spiny mice won't try and make so called kamikaze jumps as easily as their golden colored pals. It seems like they did think a little better where they would land if they happened to jump down. There is one more difference between the Nile and the Egyptian spiny mice: they "grab" your hand with their feet and nails rather firmly. This can make them easier to handle than a wild Egyptian. However, they are very lively, so a tame Egyptian is more pleasant to handle than a Nile spiny mouse searching for new things to do.

Nile spiny mouse Siimis Kardemumma

Nile spiny mouse Siimis Kardemumma
b & o. Katri Pohjanvaara, pic: Arttu Väisälä

I feed my Nile spiny mice the same way than the Egyptians, but even though they eat really a lot, they don't seem to gain weight like Egyptians do. This is probably because they move around and jump a lot. Another reason could be that my Nile spiny mice are still very young. Maybe they will gain weight as they age.

These spiny mice were completely wild when I got them, but they got tame surprisingly easy. Taming was made easier by their incredible curiosity. I didn't manage to bribe them with food, but the spinies did come to look at my hand soon enough and started thinking how it could be used in the quest of new environments.

An important thing to notice with these spiny mice is, that they need a lot of space and a lot of toys to occupy their minds with. Another factor is that they can squeeze through unbelievable small spaces with their slender heads. My old spiny mouse wire mesh tops weren't useful with Nile spiny mice, as they squeezed themselves right through them. Lucky for me they were easy to catch, as they were eager to explore my flat and weren't the least wary of me. I wonder if it was only a moment's phenomena, or are they really easier to catch than Egyptians?

All in all I'm very much in love with these new friends of mine, but luckily I do have my Egyptian spiny Picasso, if I want to cuddle with a spiny mouse.

Text by: Tiina Andersin