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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Observations: The longevity of these animals has not been studied in detail. Nonetheless, one captive specimen lived for 3.5 years (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Joao Pedro de Magalhaes
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de Magalhaes, J. P.
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Behavior

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Little is known about communication and perception of acacia rats. They appear to be very shy and rarely leave their shelters. They primarily live in conspecific communities and use scent markings to demarcate territorial boundaries.

Communication Channels: chemical

Other Communication Modes: scent marks

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Ford, C. 2011. "Thallomys paedulcus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Thallomys_paedulcus.html
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Casey Ford, Northern Michigan University
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Mary Martin, Northern Michigan University
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John Berini, Special Projects
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Conservation Status

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Acacia rats are classified as a species of least concern on the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species List. Although current population trends are unknown, they are thought to be widespread and locally abundant throughout their geographic range. Currently, there are no major threats to the long-term persistence of this species.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Ford, C. 2011. "Thallomys paedulcus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Thallomys_paedulcus.html
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Casey Ford, Northern Michigan University
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Mary Martin, Northern Michigan University
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John Berini, Special Projects
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Benefits

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Acacia rats are possible vectors for the plague (Yersinia pestes). There are no other known adverse effects of acacia rats on humans.

Negative Impacts: injures humans (carries human disease)

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Ford, C. 2011. "Thallomys paedulcus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Thallomys_paedulcus.html
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Casey Ford, Northern Michigan University
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Mary Martin, Northern Michigan University
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John Berini, Special Projects
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Benefits

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Although Thallomys paedulcus is not often seen in the pet trade, they are occasionally sought for their attractive coloring. Compared to other rodents, they breed poorly in captivity, making them unsuitable for lab use.

Positive Impacts: pet trade

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Ford, C. 2011. "Thallomys paedulcus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Thallomys_paedulcus.html
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Casey Ford, Northern Michigan University
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Mary Martin, Northern Michigan University
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John Berini, Special Projects
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Associations

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Thallomys paedulcus is prey for a number of vertebrate predators including owls and a variety of snakes. As an arboreal rodent, it fills a unique niche that is not exploited by many rodents. Parasites of this species include the flea species Xemonpsylla brasiliensis, a known vector of the plague (Yersinia pestis), and Echidnophaga gallinacea.

Commensal/Parasitic Species:

  • flea, (Xemonpsylla brasiliensis)
  • sticktight flea, (Echidnophaga gallinacea)
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Ford, C. 2011. "Thallomys paedulcus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Thallomys_paedulcus.html
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Casey Ford, Northern Michigan University
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Mary Martin, Northern Michigan University
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John Berini, Special Projects
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Trophic Strategy

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Acacia rats are primarily granivorous, feeding on the seeds and foliage of acacia trees. They have been observed foraging on Acacia tortilis and Acacia erioloba. The leaves of shepherd’s trees and seeds of buffalo thorn are also considered an important part of their diet. Other primarily granivorous, they also consume the berries, grasses, roots, buds, and gum of acacias. Food is generally brought back to the nest preior to consumption. Inedible plant materials are often used in nest making. They may also consume carrion or invertebrates when available.

Animal Foods: carrion ; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods

Plant Foods: leaves; roots and tubers; wood, bark, or stems; seeds, grains, and nuts; sap or other plant fluids

Foraging Behavior: stores or caches food

Primary Diet: herbivore (Granivore ); omnivore

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Ford, C. 2011. "Thallomys paedulcus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Thallomys_paedulcus.html
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Casey Ford, Northern Michigan University
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Mary Martin, Northern Michigan University
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John Berini, Special Projects
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Distribution

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Acacia rats are found in sub-Saharan Africa. They occur widely from the southern-most portion of Ethiopia, south to the east coast of South Africa. Their range extends to the west coast of Angola, through Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )

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Ford, C. 2011. "Thallomys paedulcus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Thallomys_paedulcus.html
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Casey Ford, Northern Michigan University
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Mary Martin, Northern Michigan University
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John Berini, Special Projects
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Habitat

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Thallomys paedulcus lives under the frayed bark of acacia tree trunks and branches, primarily Acacia xanthophloa and Acacia tortilis. It can sometimes seen near river beds. Its nests, which have been seen as high as 4 m from the ground, become highly visible during winter when foliage decreases. Acacia thorns provide optimal protection against predators.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland

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Ford, C. 2011. "Thallomys paedulcus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Thallomys_paedulcus.html
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Casey Ford, Northern Michigan University
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Mary Martin, Northern Michigan University
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John Berini, Special Projects
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Life Expectancy

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THe average lifespan of wild acacia rats has not been documented. Captive individuals live for an average of 3 years.

Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
3 years.

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Ford, C. 2011. "Thallomys paedulcus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Thallomys_paedulcus.html
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Casey Ford, Northern Michigan University
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Mary Martin, Northern Michigan University
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John Berini, Special Projects
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Morphology

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Acacia rats have a white venter and a grey-yellow dorsum. The fur is dense and soft and their ears are sparsely covered in hair. They have elongate hind- and forepaws, which possess long, curved claws. THeir brown tail is used to distinguish them from black-tailed tree rats. In addition, black-tailed tree rats have a more complete eye mask than acacia rats. Although they were once considered the same species, recent chromosomal evidence suggest they are distinct species. Acacia rats weigh between 63 and 100 g, with an average of 68 g. Weight can vary substantially in females, with weight increasing during lactation. Body length ranges from 12 to 16.3 cm, and the tail is often greater than or equal to the body, ranging from 13 to 21 cm. Sexual dimorphism has not been reported for this species.

Range mass: 63 to 100 g.

Average mass: 68 g.

Range length: 12 to 16.3 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

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Ford, C. 2011. "Thallomys paedulcus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Thallomys_paedulcus.html
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Casey Ford, Northern Michigan University
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Mary Martin, Northern Michigan University
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John Berini, Special Projects
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Associations

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Acacia rats inhabit the thickest and thorniest parts of Acacia trees, which is an extremely effective in predator avoidance. Their sandy pelage provides great camouflage and likely helps reduce predation risk. It is thought that owls are their primary predators, however, arboreal snakes (e.g., Dendroaspis spp.) are important predators as well.

Known Predators:

  • owls, (Strigiformes)
  • tree snakes, (Dendroaspis spp.)

Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic

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Ford, C. 2011. "Thallomys paedulcus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Thallomys_paedulcus.html
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Casey Ford, Northern Michigan University
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Mary Martin, Northern Michigan University
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John Berini, Special Projects
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Reproduction

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There is little information on the mating system of Acacia rats. They give birth during the summer rainy season, when acacia foliage is present. Similar to many other murids, acacia rats are polygynandrous. Males expand their home ranges during breeding season, presumably in order to increase the likelihood of finding potential mates.

Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)

There is little information available regarding the reproductive behavior of acacia rats, and that which is know was discovered via lab studies. They normally breeds every 3.5 months during summer (April through July) and litters consists of 2 to 5 pups, which weigh between 2.5 to 2.8 g t birth. Young are weaned 28 and 31 days old and reach sexual maturity at an average of 107 days. Pups begin walking after 15 days and incisors appear only after one day. Reproduction in acacia rats is thought to be similar to that of black-tailed tree rats.

Breeding interval: Acacia rats breed once every 3.5 months.

Breeding season: Acacia rats breed during the rainy season, which lasts from April through July.

Range number of offspring: 2 to 5.

Average number of offspring: 2.7.

Range weaning age: 28 to 31 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 107 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 107 days.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous

There is no information available regarding parental care in wild acacia rats. In captivity, young attach to the nipple and nurse while the mother moves around the local environment. Pups stay with their parents until they reach reproductive maturity.

Parental Investment: female parental care ; pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)

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Ford, C. 2011. "Thallomys paedulcus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Thallomys_paedulcus.html
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Casey Ford, Northern Michigan University
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Mary Martin, Northern Michigan University
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John Berini, Special Projects
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Acacia rat

provided by wikipedia EN

The acacia rat (Thallomys paedulcus) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae. It is found in Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Somalia, South Africa, Eswatini, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry shrubland.

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Acacia rat: Brief Summary

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The acacia rat (Thallomys paedulcus) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae. It is found in Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Somalia, South Africa, Eswatini, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry shrubland.

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