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Temporal range: Late Pliocene to recent
African soft-furred rat (Mastomys coucha)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Muridae
Subfamily: Murinae
Genus: Mastomys
Thomas, 1915

Mastomys awashensis
Mastomys coucha
Mastomys erythroleucus
Mastomys huberti
Mastomys kollmannspergeri
Mastomys natalensis
Mastomys pernanus
Mastomys shortridgei

Mastomys is a genus of rodent in the family Muridae endemic to Africa. It contains these species:

The multimammate mice (also called multimammate rats, African soft-furred rats, natal-rats or African common rats) are found in most parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Their head-body length is between 10 and 15 cm, their tail length is between 8 and 15 cm, and their weight varies between 20 and 80 grams, depending on the species. Domesticated multimammate mice are heavier on average, weighing from 60 to 120 grams.[1] Mastomys species are omnivorous, and can live up to 4 years.

Systematically, they were long placed in the genus Rattus (referred to as Rattus natalensis). Later they were placed in the genus Mus (referred to as Mus natalensis) and then they were placed in the genus Praomys. Today, molecular research has discovered that they are a genus of their own (Mastomys) and that they are closely related to Praomys. They are also more closely related to Mus than to Rattus.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-06-20. Retrieved 2018-07-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Further reading[edit]

  • 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.