Cairo spiny mice have sandy-brown or greyish-brown fur color above and whitish beneath. A line of spine-like bristles run along the ridge of their backs. Their snout is slender and pointed, the eyes are large. They have large and slightly pointed ears and their tail is devoid of hairs.
Cairo spiny mice are native to northern Africa. Their range extends from Mauritania, Morocco, and Algeria in the west to Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Egypt in the east. They live in dry stony habitats with sparse vegetation and are often found near human dwellings. These mice are common around cliffs and canyons and in gravelly plains with shrubby vegetation. They are not usually found in sandy habitats, but may be present among date palms.
Cairo spiny mice are social animals and live in small family groups. Each group has a dominant male. These mice are nocturnal and prefer to forage at different times of the day to avoid competition. Cairo spiny mice live in burrows or rock crevices and are mostly terrestrial, but they can also clamber about in low bushes. They sometimes enter houses, especially in winter, and dislike cold weather.
Cairo spiny mice are omnivorous rodents. They eat anything edible they can find. Their diet includes seeds, nuts, fruit, green leaves, insects, spiders, molluscs, and carrion. When these mice live in the vicinity of humans, they consume crops, grain, and stored food.
There is little information regarding the mating system in Cairo spiny mice. However, as they live in family groups that consist of a dominant male and a group of females it suggests that these animals exhibit a polygynous mating system. Breeding mostly takes place in the rainy season, between September and April, when the availability of food is greater. The gestation period is 5-6 weeks, which is long for a mouse, and the young are well-developed when they are born. At this time, they are already covered with short fur and their eyes are open, and they soon start exploring their surroundings. The adults in the group cooperate in caring for the young, with lactating females feeding any of the group offspring. Females may become pregnant again immediately after giving birth, and have 3 or 4 litters in a year of up to 5 young. The juveniles become mature at two to three months of age.
There are no major threats to Cairo spiny mice at present.
The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the Cairo spiny mouse total population size. This animal is common and widespread throughout its known range. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.
Cairo spiny mice consume the fruits, but spit the seeds out intact and thus act as efficient seed dispersal agents for this plant.