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Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2005 Oct;100(6):527-30. Epub 2005 Nov 8.

Maintenance and breeding of Thrichomys (Trouessart, 1880) (Rodentia: Echimyidae) in captivity.

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Laboratório de Biologia e Controle da Esquistossomose, Departamento de Medicina Tropical, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, RJ 21040-900, Brasil.


South American histricognath rodents Thrichomys apereoides laurentius and Thrichomys pachyurus are natural hosts of Trypanosoma cruzi, agent of Chagas disease. We established breeding colonies of these species to serve as experimental models in various parasitological studies. Both species of Thrichomys have all the requirements necessary to become excellent laboratory models: they can be easily maintained in the standard laboratory conditions and breed throughout the year and they do not have any special dietary demands and can be fed by standard food pellets designed for laboratory mice. Both species produce precocious offspring that have their eyes and ears open, teeth erupted, fur well developed, and can eat solid food in the first week of life. T. a. laurentius has larger litter sizes and lower body masses at birth and weaning than T. pachyurus. Moreover, females of T. a. laurentius reach puberty earlier and with lower body mass than T. pachyurus.

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