Pencil-tailed tree mouse

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Pencil-tailed tree mice
Temporal range: Late Pliocene to Recent
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Suborder: Myomorpha
Family: Muridae
Subfamily: Murinae
Genus: Chiropodomys
Peters, 1868

Chiropodomys calamianensis
Chiropodomys gliroides
Chiropodomys karlkoopmani
Chiropodomys major
Chiropodomys muroides
Chiropodomys pusillusChiropodomys maximus
Chiropodomys primitivus

Chiropodomys (or pencil-tailed tree mice) is a genus of Old World rats and mice native to Southeast Asia and Indonesia. They are tree-dwelling, very small mice, mostly found in tropical rainforest. In total six extant species have been identified, but only one of these, Chiropodomys gliroides, is common and widely distributed, and has been extensively studied.


Genus Chiropodomys - pencil-tailed tree mice


Species of Chiropodomys have a body length of 7 to 12 cm, plus a tail of 9 to 17 cm. They are generally gray or brown on the back and white underneath. The tail is only sparsely covered with hair, but has somewhat more at the end, giving the appearance of a pencil, thus the genus name.

Chiropodomys gliroides is particularly common in bamboo forest. It is active at night, sleeps during the day in a nest in the bamboo, padded with leaves. It eats exclusively plants.

A close connection between Chiropodomys and the genus Hapalomys (marmoset rats) is accepted. The Haeromys (pygmy tree mice) are also thought to be closely related. On the other hand, an earlier-posited connection with Crateromys (cloudrunners) is no longer considered probable.


  • Ronald M. Nowak: Walker's Mammals of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999 ISBN 0-8018-5789-9
  • 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.
  • Wells K, Pfeiffer M, Lakim MB & Linsenmair KE (2004) "Arboreal spacing patterns of the Large pencil-tailed tree mouse Chiropodomys major in a rainforest in Sabah, Malaysia." Ecotropica 10 : 15-22
  • Wells K, Pfeiffer M, Lakim MB & Linsenmair KE (2004) "Use of arboreal and terrestrial space by a small mammal community in a tropical rain forest in Borneo, Malaysia." Journal of Biogeography' 31 : 641-652.
This article is based on a translation of an article from the German Wikipedia, retrieved on November 22, 2006.