Scientific name: Acomys cilicicus
Diet: Seeds - granivore, grasses - graminivore, insects - insectivore
Food & feeding: Omnivore
Habitats: Temperate forest and woodland, desert and semi-desert
Conservation status: Data deficient
Relatives: House mouse, capybara
Description: Like the name says, this is a mouse with spines, a series of spiny hairs along its back that make it harder for predators to swallow them. Like many mammals living in hot climates these mice have extra large ears, which may help them keep their blood cool, like a car radiator. Their tails are very brittle, the end section can snap off quite easily, again a possible escape tactic if they are grabbed by predators. Length from head to base of tail is about 10 cms.
Lifestyle: Spiny mice come out to feed after dark, when the surface temperature of their dry scrubby forest home has dropped to a more comfortable level. They feed on a range of plants, seeds and insects.
Family & friends: Due to a lack of research little is known about the social life of this species. Other spiny mice live in social groups where one female may help with the nursing of another female's pups.
Keeping in touch: Little is known about communication in this particular species.
Growing up: After a pregnancy of five to six weeks, the females give birth to one to five young. The young are more advanced at birth than most other rodents. They are weaned after about two weeks and reach sexual maturity after a couple of months. They can live for about three years.
Conservation news: The Turkish spiny mouse is known from only one place on the southern Turkish coast. The population may be decreasing, for reasons unknown.
Bristol Zoo Gardens are part of captive breeding programme for this species.
Some species of spiny mice have become popular as pets. They are easy to look after and they do not smell, unlike many rodent pets.