Southern multimammate mouse

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Southern multimammate mouse
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Muridae
Genus: Mastomys
Species: M. coucha
Binomial name
Mastomys coucha
(Smith, 1834)

The southern multimammate mouse (Mastomys coucha) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae found in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Its natural habitats are dry savanna, moist savanna, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, arable land, and rural gardens.


M. coucha is sympatric with M. natalensis and is only definitively identified by karyotyping or DNA sequencing. Many academic labs and publicly available animals were derived from a colony originally misidentified as M. natalensis.[1]


The southern multimammate rat is currently being bred in the US and Canada as a replacement food source for reptiles, replacing the brown rat as a viable food source for picky eaters. It is also recognized as one of the natural food sources for ball pythons. They are also being used for stomach cancer research, among other ailments. Europeans have begun breeding them for companion animal use, namely in Germany and England. This trend is also catching, slowly, in the US and Canada.[citation needed]

Only recently has it been introduced to the pet trade, and is more often kept as a feeder rodent for snakes than as a pet.


  1. ^ Kruppa, T. F.; Iglauer, F; Ihnen, E; Miller, K; Kunstyr, I (1990). "Mastomys natalensis or Mastomys coucha. Correct species designation in animal experiments". Tropical Medicine and Parasitology 41 (2): 219–20. PMID 2382103. 

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