Breeding African Pygmy Mice
Breeding an animal is never a decision to be taken lightly and it is always best to have had a few years experience of them as pets before embarking on it. There are many things you need to consider; one vital aspect of breeding rodents knowledge of genetics and ethics.
Check your local rescues, as if they have rodents needing homes in your area you must think very carefully and have a good reason for adding more. You must have potential homes lined up as if you supply a pet shop with your rodent's offspring you stand a high risk of them ending up as a meal for a reptile.
For more details, see our article on when to breed rodents - ethics and care.
Breeding African Pygmy Mice can be quite low maintenance, providing you keep a close eye on their behaviour and give enough space. You must also be prepared to source unrelated to avoid excessive inbreeding. African Pygmy Mice have a few variations in coat and colours although these are not yet standardised.
Breeding and Gestation
African Pygmy Mice become sexually mature at 4-6 weeks. It is advisable to keep more females than males in your colony as fights between males can be very vicious. Gestation is 20 days.
As with any rodent, inbreeding is to be avoided but it should be noted that African Pygmy Mice seem to suffer more as a result of this, giving poor coat condition, bald spots and causing aggression.
As long as their care and space requirements are met, African Pygmy Mice can be prolific breeders so it is important to ensure good pet homes are lined up for when you need to separate them.
Although a female African Pygmy Mouse can produce a litter of 1-6 babies every 19-20 days this should be avoided as it will cause great strain on her body and significantly shorten her lifespan.
Litter sizes are around around 2-8, they are born measuring around 15mm. They are a darker pink than fancy mouse newborns and grow a pale grey juvenile fur after around a week.
This will later darken to the normal agouti of adults. They will open their eyes at around 14 days. Weaning is usually at 21 days. Separating out into same-sex groups can be done as soon as you see them eating solids.
Young should be separate at 4 weeks into same-sex groupings. The best method to sex African Pygmy Mice is to place young in a clear plastic container or jar and observe from underneath. Females have noticable lines of nipples and males should have a testicular bulge to the base of their tail. Due to their small size, it is not always easy to identify at 4 weeks.