Zebra Mice

About to Get Zebra Mice?

The road to responsible pet ownership begins with first getting proper information, then taking time to ponder whether getting this particular species is the best decision you can make. Once you have knowledge and are sure you'd make a good zebra mouse owner - great! Join the ranks of happy zebra fanciers!

Stripes Are the Thing:

Owning a pet brings along much joy and company, but also a responsibility lasting the life time of the pet. The decision of whether to actually get a pet should be considered thoroughly! We all probably know of cases when impulse purchase of a pet has lead to a happy ending. However, in the majority of cases this has brought heartache, sad endings and even animal abuse. This can happen even with people who mean well.

Responsible people who are considering getting a pet do find out early in advance the qualities (size when fully grown, temperament etc) and care requirements of the species they are thinking about. This way they are able to avoid many unwanted and unpleasant surprises (the pet and the owner just won't fit together and such), as well as mistreatment.

Getting a Zebra Mouse, are you?

Oh yes, you want one of those stripy little mice. Here are some points worth pondering before you go and get one!

Every single pet - even as small as mice - have to be properly cared for their whole lives. Pets are totally dependent on humans. They can't walk in a shop and buy beddings for their dirty cage, or go and fill their empty water bottles... No way, their lives are totally in the hands of their owner. The owner should always take care of the needs of her pets!

Think about what will happen if your zebra mouse suddenly falls ill! Vets do cost a lot, as everybody knows. What will you do? Will you take off immediately and head for a vet, pay for all the expensive medications and travel to another town in order to visit a vet that really knows something about your rare pet... Are you up to all this?!!

Do you have time to interact with your small pet? When you spend a lot of time with your zebra mouse, you will get an exceptionally tame friend. However, do you really have the time and endurance for this?

When you are on a holiday and away from home, who will take care of your stripy friend in the mean time? Who will see to it that it has everything it needs and also that it feels fine... Who will keep it company?

Zebra Mouse Paavo

Zebra mouse Paavo
o. Katri Pohjanvaara, pic: Arttu Väisälä

You do often hear stories about a pet had fallen ill and died while the owner was away from home. Shouldn't you get someone who actually knows about your pets and will take them to a vet if they fall ill? Are you able to find someone like this near you, among your friends?!!

If you are able to answer all these questions with determination that you are able to do everything right, your zebra mouse has a bright future ahead of it. However, do consider everything through carefully and think. Are you able to keep everything running smoothly for the next three or four or more years - how ever bad your own situation is.

Note! An animal should never be bought on a whim!

In spite of all the trouble, owning a zebra mouse does give more than it takes. Not financially, but otherwise, as the zebra mouse is one of the lovelies and easiest pet around.

One more note. Even if you were breeding these animals and had a group of over ten zebra mice or other animals, every single individual should be cared for as individuals.

Male or Female?

If you want to breed zebra mice, you will need one of both sexes. As pets, there isn't a great difference if your zebras are males or females, their temperaments don't differ that much.

Remember, that the zebra mouse is clearly an animal that likes to live in twos. That means: no large groups or solitaries. A friend of the same species will give everything a human can't: they will groom each others, keep company and provide a feeling of security, warmth and understanding. If you only have the possibility of keeping one zebra mouse, you can try and co-inhabit it with a spiny mouse (just make sure that the animals accept each others totally).

Where to Get One

As a matter of fact it may be rather difficult to get a zebra mouse. They are rather rare in pet shops and there aren't that many breeders around either. Ask your local mouse club if they list or otherwise know any zebra breeders and make inquiries from local mouse fanciers as well.

Good luck.

What to Look For

Things to look for when choosing a zebra mouse...

If you get lucky and are able to find some zebra mice somewhere, do not rush and buy the first ones you see. Look at them closer first.

First of all: Buy as young an animal as possible to make sure it can be tamed properly!

Zebra mouse

Zebra mouse, o. Katri Pohjanvaara
Pic: Arttu Väisälä

Examine the animal closely to make sure you are not buying a sick one. A healthy animal will have bright and lively eyes, it will move about lively (however, not too wildly) and it is slim and curious. The coat of a healthy animal is strong, tense and shiny and the whole animal gives the impression of being clean.

Buy a mouse that does not run wildly away from you, but is rather curious in a benign way. This way you can get a pet that will be tamed.

Ask the seller to let you handle the mouse before you buy one, so you can see better how it really behaves.

The zebra mouse has to be clean and tidy in all matters and it should not sneeze. This is a sign of illness.

Signs of serious illness include strokes, sitting in one place with legs spread, tilted head and staggering movements.

Even though the individual you have chosen would be fine in all matter, do take a look at its cage mates. There is always the possibility that one sick individual in a group has already infected all the others, but the other mice are not showing sings of it yet. This way you can prevent unnecessary heart ache and vet bills.

The surroundings have their own impact on the mouse's health. If the mice are living in clearly filthy and / or cramped conditions, your common sense will tell you that you can't find a level headed, healthy pet from there!

Last but certainly not least: PITY IS NEVER A VALID REASON FOR BUYING AN ANIMAL!!!

More things to take into consideration

As an addition to what has been discussed above: Zebra mice are not suitable for young children. Zebra mice are much too small and fragile to be held by children, as children can not determine how they use their strength and can accidentally squeeze a mouse too hard. Some 5 - 6 year old children are more capable of handling a zebra mouse, of course only after an adult has shown how it is properly done.

Owning a zebra mouse is one sort of friendship. It should bring joy to the lives of both of you. So, just to be certain some final points before you go:


  • To build up a time schedule, a certain time table, for your mouse. One that it can trust.
  • Take care of the water supply always.
  • Provide your mouse with an interesting environment to live in.
  • Make sure you feed them proper and versatile diet.
  • Let a sleeping mouse lie.
  • Pamper your zebra from time to time.
  • Handle your loved one often.
  • Let your zebra live its own life... but also let it take part in yours!


  • Forget wormings and similar when it is the time for them.
  • Feed them only with dry food.
  • Forget to handle them or abandon your pet.
  • Let children play with them like they were toys.
  • Stress a female with too many litters too close to each others.
  • Lift your zebra by the tail.
  • Hesitate to contact a vet if you suspect that there is something wrong with your pet.
  • Don't let your animal suffer.

Remember, that you are the best friend of your zebra and the best gift you can give it, is your time!

Original text: Lotta Alhfors & Kaisa Kattilakoski.