Albino Mouse – Facts About Albino Mice In Science And As Pets

albino mouse

An albino mouse is one of the most common rodents found in lab experiments. But is quite an uncommon pet.

It’s easy to mistake a standard white mouse as an albino mouse. But, their genetics are quite different.

If you come across an albino mouse in your search for a pet, you will need to learn about their health and care needs.

So, read on for our 10 interesting facts about the albino mouse and their care!

1. They’re More Common as Lab Mice

You won’t usually see an albino mouse kept as a pet. But, albino mice are often seen in scientific studies as lab animals.

They’re popular because they are relatively cheap to care for, they can reproduce quickly, and they have a surprisingly high genetic similarity to humans.

In fact, one study suggests that most rodents used in labs are albino!

These pale little mice have been used to study and identify behavioral patterns in the species.

From albino mice, we’ve learned a lot about defensive and attacking behaviors, as well as reproductive patterns in mice.

But, these little animals have also been fundamental in research on human diseases. Especially helping to further research on cancer.

albino mouse

2. There are Lots of Strains of Albino Mice

Different strains of mice are used for different things in labs. But, several of these strains include albinism.

So, even though albino mice are popular in lab tests, it’s unlikely they’re all using the same strain.

Some common strains of albino mouse used in labs are: BALB/c, CD-1, CB17 SCID, A/J mice, and ICR mice.

These various strains and stocks each have different characteristics and natures that make them useful for different areas of study.

3. Some Albino Mice Strains are Inbred

Some of the strains of albino mouse mentioned above are purposefully inbred to produce greater genetic homogeneity.

The strain BALB/c is one such example. These albino mice are commonly used in immunology and infectious disease research.

Good breeders will avoid inbreeding when selling pets, as it can increase the likelihood of health risks.

However, in laboratory mice, it’s useful for identifying genes that make people and animals prone to certain diseases.

If you think you have an albino mouse as a pet, you should make sure that it has been bred responsibility to reduce the chance of health risks.

So, outside of the lab, how do you know if you have an albino mouse?

4. Not all White Mice are Albino!

It’s a pretty common misconception that all white mice are albino. This is because albino mice usually look like they have white fur.

Albino mice actually have a very different genetic makeup to standard white mice.

There are lots of ways that mice can have white fur. Some mice even have white patches of fur amongst darker colors.

If you see a mouse like this, they aren’t an albino mouse.

So, if albino mice don’t have white coloring on their fur, what’s happening with their genetics?

5. Albino Mice Have No Pigment

An albino mouse looks quite similar to a white mouse. But, they are actually very different when you take a closer look at their genetics.

Mice with the classic albino mutation actually have no pigment in their fur, skin, or eyes. Their fur looks white, but it actually has no color at all.

This is because they are incapable of producing pigment.

6. Albino Mice Have Pink Eyes

Although an albino mouse is incapable of producing pigment, studies have linked the albino gene to the pink-eyed dilution gene.

But, this eye color is a little misleading in albino mice.

This gene, as the name suggests, causes a color dilution. And, as we’ve already seen, albino mice are unable to produce pigment.

The pink coloring that you see in an albino mouse’s eyes is actually the color of blood vessels in the mouse’s eyes.

Albino mice have pink eyes and completely white fur.

Non-albino mice can also have the pink-eyed dilution gene. But their fur will be a cream or light grey shade, rather than fully white.

7. Albino Mice are Omnivores

Just like any other type of mouse, an albino mouse will be an omnivore. This is yet another trait that they share with humans.

Mice in the wild and mice as pets will eat a really wide range of foods. It can vary from grains, seeds, and plants, to insects!

If you have an albino mouse pet, it’s most likely you will feed them with a commercial mouse food.

This is a great way to make sure they’re getting the right nutritional balance.

But, you’ll be able to top this up with some of your own foods. Make sure to always check a new food is safe before giving it to your mouse.

And, introduce new foods slowly to avoid any upset tummies!

8. Albino Mice are Nocturnal

Another trait that albino mice share with other types of mice is their sleeping and waking patterns.

An albino mouse is a nocturnal rodent. This means they sleep in the day, and most of their activity happens at night.

If you’re bringing home an albino mouse pet, you need to be aware of this! They won’t be around for lots of socializing in the middle of the day.

And, they will be moving around and making lots of noise at night. So, it’s best to place their cage somewhere where neither of you will disturb the other whilst they’re trying to sleep!

You can read more advice on choosing and placing a cage in our complete guide to mice as pets.

9. Albino Mice have Individual Personalities

All mice, like humans, have different personalities and temperaments to one another.

So, one albino mouse can behave very differently to another. Some may be naturally more outgoing and friendly. Whereas others can be more timid and aggressive.

This doesn’t just apply to albino mice. Any pet mouse will have its own individual personality.

But, this is partly what makes them such a great and popular pet.

No matter what their personality, make sure you’re meeting your albino mouse’s needs to ensure they’re as happy and comfortable as possible.

This will help to bring out all their best traits!

10. Mice Show their Feelings Through Expressions

An albino mouse, just like other types of mice, will show emotions through facial expressions.

But, as humans, we might not recognise these expressions as easily as other mice will!

Studies into mice empathy, interaction, and expressions have been really interesting in showing how mice communicate with one another.

Albino Mouse Summary

Do you know any albino mouse facts that we can add to our list?

If you have an albino mouse pet, be sure to tell us about them in the comments. It’s a great way for others to learn what they’re like.

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  1. I use a bicycle for transportation and was returning home from grocery shopping one Saturday. Being near Houston, there’s a few industrial and medical labs, even in the suburbs, where I live, in Pasadena, TX. So I’m riding through one of these areas, and I notice a little white mouse or rat running in the street, with traffic just barely avoiding it. I park the bike, dig something out of my cargo to use for a container, and go scoop the little critter up. I take it home to show it to my wife and son. That’s when I noticed that it’s albino: completely white fur with pink skin and eyes. At that time we didn’t determine whether mouse or rat, male or female. I bought a cage and some food & bedding. Soon we knew “it” was a “he,” so we named him Stewart Little. He says, “Let’s get small!”
    Anyway, so after 3 months and observing his personality, friendliness, and intelligence, we when back and redid our research into the question of specie. And it was so easy! Looking at photos of Albino mice . . . Stewart is definitely one of them! The facial expressions, that “mousy” look. And he is so smart. He’s learned to “tell” us he’s hungry by stuffing small pieces of his bedding through the cage wires. He’s “giving us something,” so that we will give him something. He will make a special effort to touch my fingertip with his hands. But he will not be handled. At least not yet.
    This chance occurence has benefited all of us, including Stewart, of course. I have just found out that by us keeping him feed and protected, increases his lifespan about 10 times, compared to him living in the wild amongst predators. And I have greatly benefited from just knowing the little guy! He is such an inspiration.
    At first I was concerned about the small size of his cage. Like a prison. Three squares and a cot. Then one day I realized that the size of his cage, relative to the size of his body . . . is about the SAME ratio of my apartment size : my body size. It’s the same situation, just on a larger scale. So I don’t feel sorry for him anymore. But this is where his character REALLY shines . . .
    We noticed him getting a bit upset about having to rebuild his “underground” nest area every week after cage-cleaning. And by the way, he is such a great engineer . . . and fast! But apparently this rebuilding every week got old quick. He seemed depressed and upset about it. He would just stay buried underneath untouched bedding. For a while there, he would hardly ever come out. As we were concerned about him, we patiently talked him out and fed him. He gradually snapped out of it and rebuilt his nest. Now, as I write this, he’s spinning away on his wheel, happy as ever!
    So that’s our story . . . and we’re sticking to it! Hope you liked it and may God bless.

  2. I have 2 pet Ball Python Snakes and feed them rats and mice that I buy at the pet store. I usually name them steak or chicken. In April 2022 I bought 3 mice… when i got home i realized that i had 2 males and 1 of them was a 3-legged female (she was missing her rear left leg…obviously born that way). Note…Females are not usually sold with the feeder mice. Well, after the 2 males, which were typical timid and aggressive personalities, were eaten…neither snake wanted the female, so I put her in a container to keep her till the feeding…. which would be in about 2 weeks.

    But then something happened…I petted her and she let me. I picked her up and put her on my arm in my sleeve and she was content and I kept petting her. At that moment, I realized she was just a sweet soul… they come in all shapes and sizes! I also decided she was no longer snake food, but a pet. I continue to hold and pet her to socialize her even more and starting searching for a furever home for her as i really didn’t want a pet mouse lol!

    Well I became attached. Her name is now Ruby as she is an albino with Ruby red eyes. She’s a total sweetheart and loves to hang out with me. I put a towel on my lap and make little caves for her to crawl around in… she loves it! She absolutely loves to be petted and doesn’t try to get away.

    Ruby the 3-legged mouse will now by spoiled and loved for the rest of her life. I now have 2 pet ball python snakes and a pet mouse. Their paths will never cross 😆!


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