1. Common Feeders
African Pygmy Mouse (Mus minutoides)
The African Pygmy mouse is native to sub-Saharan Africa and is one of the smallest rodents. Adults are between 30 and 80 mm long (1.2 to 3.1 inches), with a 20 to 40 mm tail (0.79 to 1.6 inches). Their weight ranges from 3 to 12 grams. The small size of the pinkies makes them ideal for the smallest neonate chondros, but currently there are no commercial breeders.
African pygmy mice reach breeding age at about 6 to 8 weeks. Pregnancy is approximately 20 days, and the litter of about 3 young is born blind and hairless. Their eyes open after 2 weeks, and weaning is complete after 4 weeks. The lifespan is about 2 years, although individual specimens have been reported to live over 4 years in captivity. They prefer social interaction and do best in small colonies.
African Soft Furred Rat/ Natal Multimammate Mouse (Mastomys natalensis)
ASFRs are a great substitute for common pet store rats and have been called the perfect chondro food. Not only are they less caloric than common rats, but as the name suggests, they don’t have the coarse hair of common rats. Adults grow considerably larger than jumbo mice and can be a good alternative for larger (1,200 gram +) females. Also, ASFR colonies have considerably less odor compared to common rats and mice. Although the startup cost for an ASFR colony is only a bit more expensive than a mouse colony, the retail price of ASFRs are considerably more than mice. This is likely due to the reproductive nature of ASFRs, such as smaller litter sizes. Hopefully their prices will drop as they become more available through commercial breeders.