31 December 2013

Golden Spiny Mouse near Tabuk – Record by Viv Wilson

Viv Wilson was out near Tabuk recently and photographed a Golden Spiny Mouse Acomys russatus. He has kindly allowed me to use his photographs on my website and they are shown below. The Golden Spiny Mouse gets its name from the reddish-orange spiny fur that covers it body from head to tail. The fur is coarse and inflexible and is thought to protect it from predation. The mouse also has yellow flanks and a pale underside. It has gray legs with pale feet and black soles. They only live an average of three years in the wild and feed on seeds, desert plants, snails, and insects. Living in desert regions, they obtain water from the plants they eat, mainly grains and grasses and produce concentrated urine in order to conserve water. They can be seen during the day as well as at night but are generally more active in the daytime and live in groups.

They are native to Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, occurring up to 2,642 metres above sea level. They live in extremely arid, rocky areas, such as the edge of wadis, the base of jebels and at mountain summits, where they normally reside in rocky crevices, cracks in soil & the burrows of other rodents. They are a small and stocky mouse with a pointed snout, large, erect ears, and a brittle, furless, scaly tail, but nevertheless it is one of the largest of the Spiny Mouse group, with a body up to 25 cm long and a tail of up to 7 cm.