Pygmy rock mouse

Petromyscus collinus

SUBFAMILY

Petromyscinae

TAXONOMY

Petromyscus collinus (Thomas and Hinton, 1925), Damaraland, Namibia.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Head and body length 2.7-3.5 in (70-90 mm); tail 3.1-3.9 in (80-100 mm). Small, mouse-sized rodents with broad, flattened heads and large ears. Their long tails are scaly and sparsely furred, and the pelage is soft and brown above and grayish below. Dental characteristics suggest they are related to members of the subfamilies Dendromurinae and Mystromyinae, but they are distinctive in other characters.

DISTRIBUTION

Found in the arid regions of southwestern Africa. Petromyscus collinus is found from southern Angola to western South Africa in the Namib Desert.

HABITAT

Found in areas of boulders and rock outcroppings in arid mountainous regions.

BEHAVIOR

Nocturnal, they shelter during the day in rock crevices and among loose boulders and forage in the same areas at night by creeping among the rocks. Very little is known about these animals.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Observations suggest they are omnivorous, taking advantage of many food types as they are available.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Breed once yearly, with births peaking in January, preceding the main rainy season. Litter size is estimated at 2-3 young.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Little is known about the population status. The areas they occupy are remote and little used by humans, though their limited distribution makes them potentially Vulnerable.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

The remote areas they occupy do not support dense human settlements; it is unlikely that there are any direct effects of Petromyscus species on humans. ♦

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