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Climbing mice
Temporal range: Late Miocene - Recent
Dendromus mystacalis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Nesomyidae
Subfamily: Dendromurinae
Genus: Dendromus
A. Smith, 1829

Dendromus insignis
Dendromus kahuziensis
Dendromus leucostomus
Dendromus lachaisei
Dendromus lovati
Dendromus melanotis
Dendromus mesomelas
Dendromus messorius
Dendromus mystacalis
Dendromus nyasae
Dendromus nyikae
Dendromus oreas
Dendromus ruppi
Dendromus vernayi

Mice in the genus Dendromus are commonly referred to as African climbing mice or tree mice, although these terms are often used to describe all members of the subfamily Dendromurinae. The genus is currently restricted to sub-Saharan Africa, but fossils classified in the genus have been found from Late Miocene deposits in Arabia and Europe.


Mice in the genus Dendromus are small (Head and body: 5–10 cm) with relatively long tails (6–13 cm). This tail is semi-prehensile and provides an aid in climbing. The dense fur is grey or brown and either one or two stripes are present on the back. Unlike most other muroids, these mice have only three fingers on each hand. They are also distinguished by their grooved incisors.

Natural history[edit]

Habitat varies widely. Elevation ranges from sea-level to 4300 m. Anecdotal evidence suggests they are arboreal, but data supporting this hypothesis are limited. They do appear to be good climbers and the degree to which they spend time in trees seems to vary by species.


Genus Dendromus - Climbing mice


  • Denys, C. and V. Aniskine. 2012. On a new species of Dendromus (Rodentia, Nesomyidae) from Mount Nimba, Guinea. Mammalia, 76:295–308.
  • McKenna, Malcolm C., and Bell, Susan K. 1997. Classification of Mammals Above the Species Level. Columbia University Press, New York, 631 pp. ISBN 0-231-11013-8
  • Musser, G. G. and M. D. Carleton. 2005. Superfamily Muroidea. Pp. 894-1531 in Mammal Species of the World a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder eds. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.
  • Nowak, Ronald M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, 6th edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1936 pp. ISBN 0-8018-5789-9