Pet Mice Owners Guide
Although not everyone’s first choice, mice are kept as pets over the world. In fact, mice have been bred and kept as pets for over 1,500 years. If you look around online you’ll find a strong following. There are societies, shows, blogs with details how to look after pet mice, and all the other support networks you’d find for any other household pet.
Pet mice actually make friendly, affectionate pets. Unless you have owned some you may not have thought this. But with careful handling and spending time to socialize with a mouse, you can form quite the friendship. Females in particular are easier to tame and work with, males will be a little more territorial
It’s fairly easy to find mice in pet stores, but this isn’t the best place to buy some. Pet mice don’t have the longest life expectancy, in fact it’s only around a year and a half. Pet stores usually buy from large rodent farms, not knowing the history or being able to guarantee the health of the mice.
A much better option is to buy from a mice breeder. These are easily found online, and you can do some checks to make sure you’re buying from a quality breeder. Also looking through classifieds for owners that have had a litter is a good way.
Always look at and handle the mouse before buying it. Look for any obvious signs of health problems, like; patchy fur, skin blemishes, breathing difficulties etc If you start with a healthy mouse you shouldn’t have many problems, they are generally easy to care for and keep healthy.
Pet Mice Accessories Required
Like with any pet, there are some accessories you’ll need to make you mice feel at home, and everything else to keep them healthy.
Cage/Tank – There are a few options here, but essentially you need a secure home for your mice. If you want to have good visibility then a glass tank will be best. But be aware that glass is a lot heavier, and more effort to keep clean.
Cages made of plastic with metal or plastic bars are a lot more common. They are easy to move, clean, and offer great ventilation. Always aim for the largest house you can fit in your home, and have plenty of ventilation
Bedding – Put a generous layer of bedding in the bottom of the cage. Mice love to burrow and dig tunnels. So pick up a pack of bedding from a pet store, or shred lots of old paper as this will also do. There are some bedding materials that are potentially dangerous, check if you are unsure.
Food Dishes – Seeing as you’re keeping them in captivity, you need to provide all their food. So pick up a good, solid food bowl. Mice will chew their way through anything that gets in their way, so use a metal or ceramic bowl.
Water Bottle – You need to provide fresh water daily, so pick up a water bottle and attach it to the side of their cage.
Exercise Wheel – In the wild a mouse would travel quite far each day, gathering food and investigating the area. So put an exercise wheel in their cage, they will use this when they have some energy to burn off and it’ll help keep them healthy.
Toys – Their teeth never stop growing, so they need to chew on things to keep them trim. This is why you add hard rubber toys into their cage. They can chew away on these and keep their teeth healthy.
Hiding Places – Mice like to hide in small places, they keep each other warm and feel safe while doing this. So put a couple of small houses and tubes in their cage.
Mice Need Exercise
It’s hard for a mouse to get the kind of exercise it would have outside – while being in a cage. The easiest solution for this is to put an exercise wheel in their cage. A couple of tips here; buy a plastic wheel, some of the old metal ones proved to be dangerous if a mouse caught its tail and claw between the bars, also, buy a quiet one, mice a nocturnal and will be running a lot at night you don’t want to hear the wheel while you’re trying to sleep.
Cardboard tubes provide a mini assault course of adventure too. Mice like to run in and out of tubes, having fun and getting some exercise.
Mice like to eat a range of seeds, various bits of vegetables and fruits. It’s too time consuming and difficult to make your own food mixes however, so buying pre-packed is a lot easier. There are a few commercial food mixes available, but you can generally use hamster food mixes.
Keep an eye on any of the ingredients the mice are leaving behind and not eating. This will help you determine how much they are enjoying the mix, and how much of it is to their liking.
You can treat them occasionally to cuts of fresh fruit and vegetables, but keep this to a minimum. Healthy food mix should make up 95% of their diet.
Make sure you top up their bottle with fresh water every day, mice can dehydrate quickly if no water is available.