Zero maze

Testing in a

Zero maze

The zero maze is used to test anxiety- and exploration-related behaviors in rats and mice. The elevated zero maze is very similar to the elevated plus maze, but lacks a center square. This removes any ambiguity in the interpretation of the time spent in the maze, but also takes away the availability of an often used starting point during the test. Again, the differences in time spent in the open and closed sections are measured and used as indication of anxiety versus exploration.

Testing in a Zero maze

Made for your lab

The Noldus elevated zero maze is manufactured from high tech material, and is available in standard non-reflective grey or your color of choice. It is designed for video tracking experiments, and works perfectly in combination with EthoVision XT. 

The zero maze is available in both a rat or mouse version and comes in a cost-efficient package deal that includes a computer and a full EthoVision XT software license for video tracking. This license can also be used for the video tracking and automation of other behavioral tests.

elevated zero maze

Video tracking in an elevated zero maze

In a zero maze test, you are of course interested in how much time the animal spends in the open versus the closed-off sections of the maze. EthoVision XT allows you to specify these zones from the video images of your test arena. Later, variables can be coupled with these zones, giving you parameters such as percentage of time spent in open quadrants, latency to first open section entry, and more.

EthoVision XT detects the center point, tail base, and nose point of your rat or mouse, allowing for an accurate measurement of position that enables you to discriminate between the subject only poking its nose around the corner or moving its entire body into one of the open sections of the zero maze.


Automatically detect behaviors

Because EthoVision XT can detect multiple body points, you can automatically detect behaviors such as body elongation – a characteristic of the stretch-attend posture that is often considered a response to an environment that incites both fear/anxiousness and curiosity.


Free e-book

Basic behavioral neuroscience in rodents

The elevated zero maze is growing in popularity as a test for anxiety in rodents. What is the background behind this maze? How does it compare to the elevated plus maze? And how can I effectively use it in my research? Read more about it in our basic behavioral neuroscience e-book.


Alternative suppliers

Noldus mazes can be adjusted or custom-built to your specific requirements. Alternatively, we also offer mazes from several suppliers such as Ugo Basile and Maze Engineers (availability may depend on your location).


Relevant blogs

3 high impact papers about measuring anxiety in the Elevated Zero Maze

3 high impact papers about measuring anxiety in the Elevated Zero Maze

The elevated zero maze (EZM) is a variation on the elevated plus maze (EPM) and was created to eliminate the center region of the EPM. This blog highlights 3 studies that use the EZM to test for anxiety-like behavior
IR backlight in rodent behavioral testing

IR backlight in rodent behavioral testing

How do mice act in complete darkness? Ann-Kristina Fritz and her colleagues ordered a large, round open field with IR backlight, custom made by Noldus, to investigate.
Revealing the secret social role of the CA2 hippocampus

Revealing the secret social role of the CA2 hippocampus

Aggressive behavior is adaptive for most species. But how is this aggressive behavior mediated in the brain? A recent study indicates that the hippocampus is a crucial neural component in mediating social recognition.
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