The Nude or Elephant Mouse.

written by Stephen Sharp,
41 Gllane Close, East Stanely,County Durham England

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In 2004 I was offered a number of nude Mice, which are sold in the pet trade as Elephant Mice, by a reptile keeper from north Yorkshire. Like myself, he breeds his own mice to use as food for his reptile collection. These nude mice had appeared in his breeding colony and he decided to breed them, as a true line, out of interest. I decided to purchase a number of the nude mice as I have had an interest in rodents for many years. He, therefore, supplied me with 2 males and 6 females. I put 1 male and all six females in one cage and placed the second male in a cage containing 5 young female laboratory mice.

By checking the Internet I have found that nude mice first appeared in a strain of laboratory mice of Dr. N.R. Grists Virus Laboratory, Ruchill Hospital, Glasgow, in 1962. The hairlessness is due to the mouse being born without a thymus gland, which would regulate its defenses against disease, and the same genetic accident that deprived it of the gland also destroyed its ability to grow hair. The nude mice are therefore used in cancer research as it has been found that human cancer cells continue to grow when injected in to these mice.


I normally house my mice in large mouse cages, which are supplied by a local pet store. These cages are plastic bottomed with wire tops. I had been advised that the nude mice needed additional heating if they were to do well. For this reason I placed the male and 6 female nude mice in a 30 inch aquarium. The flooring was wood shavings and I supplied cardboard tubes as hides. The mice also had two plastic hides. Water was supplied by water bottles, fixed to the side of the aquarium.


I use a mix of pig pellet, dog food and cereal mixes as a staple diet for my rodents. The Nude mice do well on this diet.


Nude mice are not the best breeders. My 1 male to 6 female group produce about 20 to 25 mice per month. The second group of a male nude and 5 laboratory mice did not do well. The male died shortly after I put him in the cage. Thankfully a couple of female must have mated with him as they later produced mice with fur on their head and legs but not on their body. They have the appearance of small lions ! I will endeavour to breed these as a new line.


These are excellent mice to sit and watch. They are odd looking and some friends have asked for them as pets. I have had some interest in them from a local garden centre who have been displaying and selling these ”Elephant Mice” for the past few months.

If you would like more details, why not E-mail me at Stephen@SnakeBreeder.Com .

Copyright S. Sharp. 2005.