Striped Grass Mouse
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Lemniscomys, sometimes known as striped grass mice or zebra mice, is a genus of murine rodents from Africa. Most species are from Sub-Saharan Africa; L. barbarus is the only found north of the Sahara. They are generally found in grassy habitats, but where several species overlap in distribution there is a level of habitat differentiation between them.
They are 18.5–29 cm (7.3–11 in) long, of which about half is tail, and weigh 18–70 g (0.63–2.5 oz). The pelage pattern of the species fall into three main groups: The "true" zebra mice with distinct dark and pale stripes (L. barbarus, L. hoogstraali and L. zebra), the spotted grass mice with more spotty/interrupted stripes (L. bellieri, L. macculus, L. mittendorfi and L. striatus), and the single-striped grass mice with only a single dark stripe along the back (L. griselda, L. linulus, L. rosalia and L. roseveari).
They are generally considered diurnal, but at least some species can be active during the night. They feed on plants, but sometimes take insects. There are up to 12 young per litter, but 4–5 is more common. The average life expectancy is very short, in the wild often only a year, but a captive L. striatus lived for almost 5 years. A more typical captive life expectancy is 2–2½ years.
While most are common and not threatened, L. mittendorfi is restricted to Mount Oku and considered Vulnerable by the IUCN. L. hoogstraali and L. roseveari are both very poorly known, leading to their rating as Data Deficient. Some of the widespread species are regularly kept in captivity, especially L. barbarus, L. striatus and L. zebra.
Read more about Striped Grass Mouse: Species
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