24 April 2011

Sizing Them Up

I was happy to see I got some pictures of a Pygmy Mouse at Tygerberg Nature Reserve. I've only photographed them once before and the image quality wasn't all that great.

Pygmy Mouse (Dwergmuis - Mus minutoides) on the stony slopes at Tygerberg

The homebrew Sony was pointing at a small hole on the burnt slopes and I was lucky enough to get the above photograph. These mice are pretty small. Their body length is about 6 cm and their tail about 4 cm. The whole package weighs in at 6 g.

Pygmy Mouse checking out the hole - it's good to know where the exists are in the event of an emergency

The Sony and Bushnell were setup in the same general area and both photographed a Pygmy Mouse. These mice can dig their own burrows, but will also use burrows made by other species.

Four-Striped Grass Mouse (Streepmuis - Rhabdomys pumilio) at the same entrance

I was able to get some images of two other rodent species in similar positions. This helps to illustrate the size difference. The Four-Striped Grass Mouse has an approximately 10 cm long body and 10 cm tail, weighing in at 30-85 g.

The Vlei Rat (Vleirot - Otomys irroratus) is clearly much bigger than the Pygmy Mouse

The Vlei Rat in turn has a body length of about 15 cm and a tail length of merely 9 cm. They weigh in at 120 g.

There are many of these "tree-like-footprints" in the burnt area at Tygerberg (Were these made by Ents? Can it be...?)

Another interesting difference is that the two mouse species feed on plants, seeds and insects, but the rat in strictly vegetarian.


  1. Wow...if I'm guessing correctly about which pictures came from the Bushnell...it took better shots of those litter critters than i would have expected!

  2. Good to see the little guys, though I must say everything you photograph down there is of interest.

  3. @Trailblazer: The Bushnell is decent at photographing small mammals, although the classic motion blur can be an issue, but they actually tend to stop and stay still rather frequently resulting in many clear shots. The main problem with IDing is the lack of color. Video mode sometimes help if the small stuff are running along a path.

    @Codger: I feel the same way about all the interesting wildlife from your part of the world. You (and a few others) have really helped to grow my appreciation for North American wildlife. Thanks :)