Typhlomys, sometimes referred to as 'blind mice' (hence the Latin name) or 'pygmy dormice', is a genus of tree mice. It contains only five species and a handful of subspecies; the best known are T. cinereus , the Chinese pygmy dormouse, and T. chapensis, the Chapa soft-furred tree mouse.

These mice live at high altitudes in Asia, primarily southern China and northern Vietnam. They are nocturnal, with long whiskers and large ears adapted for night scavenging, and arboreal, with long hind feet and long tails to balance and climb. Their large hairless ears and tufted tails make them distinctive; while they may sound similar to the African pygmy dormice, they are not closely related, and the African dormouse has a much bushier tail and smaller ears.

Typhlomys grows to about 70 to 90 mm in length discounting their tail, which grows to 150% of their body length. They are generally traditional mouse-grey in color. They are herbivores, eating leaves, seeds, and fruit. It is uncertain how common they are, as they are hard to observe; while they live only in old-growth forest, their habitat has not yet be reduced to the point that they are considered threatened.

Despite the name, they are not blind, although they do have rather small eyes. They do, however, have the ability to echolocate, sending out ultrasonic squeaks with a peak frequency of 98 kHz (human hearing tops out at 20 kHz; bats at 200 kHz). We are still just starting to learn about their echolocation, but it appears that it's probably used to help find secure footing and nearby branches at night. It appears that this ability is limited to this one genus of mice, but this is still a new area of study.

Genus Typhlomys resides in the family of Platacanthomyidae, order Rodentia.


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