Temporal range: Late Pliocene to recent
|African soft-furred rat (Mastomys coucha)|
- Awash multimammate mouse or Awash mastomys (M. awashensis)
- Southern multimammate mouse (M. coucha)
- Guinea multimammate mouse (M. erythroleucus)
- Hubert's multimammate mouse (M. huberti)
- Verheyen's multimammate mouse (M. kollmannspergeri)
- Natal multimammate mouse (M. natalensis)
- Dwarf multimammate mouse (M. pernanus)
- Shortridge's multimammate mouse (M. shortridgei)
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. 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.
- 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.