Zebra mice are also known as Barbary or African Striped Grass Mouse and are native to regions of Africa. Of the eleven or so different species of striped grass mouse it is the Lemniscomys barbarus that is both smallest at an average length of 3-4 inches and weight of 30-40g, and the most frequently found in the exotic rodent trade. They are best obtained from an ethical breeder and kept in a pair or small same-sex group.
They have prominent black stripes along brown fur and live on average for 2-3 years. Male Zebra Mice become sexually mature at around 10 weeks, females at around 5-6 months. Gestation is 21 days and an average litter size would contain around 5 pups. Although the young are born blind and hairless the prominant striping becomes apparent very early on.
A Zebra Mouse's behaviour is sometimes nervous and not all are possible to tame. Some Zebra Mice can become accustomed to handling but this is best done by someone familiar with exotic rodents. As they age, some Zebra mice may become more affectionate to their keepers especially if they have lost their cagemates.
The Zebra Mouse environment should consist of a large tank with mesh or otherwise well ventilated lid. Plenty of climbing material and other natural enrichment such as logs, branchs and nests should be provided. They are keen climbers and generally very active and curious, being a good exotic rodent to observe during the day.
Zebra Mice can be quite volatile and aggressive towards each other however, so it is important to keep a close eye on them, provide a varied diet and ensure they have plenty of space to prevent overcrowding.