How To Take Care Of A Mouse
If you’re looking for small pets, one great choice is a pet mouse. Pet mice are full of energy, entertaining, and are low maintenance compared to some other rodents. However, these cute little rodents can be a bit skittish and difficult to handle compared to larger rodents like rats and hamsters.
A new pet mouse can easily be trained to take food from the owner’s hand. Even more so, if you train it from a young age, you’ll be able to hold it without any problems.
Read our comprehensive guide so you can learn everything you need to know about choosing the best pet mice and how to care for them.
How Long Do Mice Live?
The average lifespan of a pet mouse is two years when kept in captivity. Of all the pet rodents, pet mice have the shortest lifespan. Even in the wild, mice tend to live shorter lives, ranging from one to one-and-a-half years of age.
Mice Behavior And Temperament
Almost all types of pet mice are extremely social and like to live in groups. They can survive happily in a large cage alongside many other mice and also in pairs. The best arrangement is to pair two female mice in a cage. Putting two males in a cage may lead to fights and pairing a couple will lead to reproduction.
If domestic mice kept as pets haven't been trained to be held, they may bite or scratch you. However, most pet mice adapt and become quite tame over time. They’re friendly, fun, and active. Pet mice are said to be very intelligent and can be taught to learn many tricks, including recognizing their names.
Bear in mind that mice are extremely fragile creatures. Even a relatively short fall can lead to injuries.
Additionally, mice tend to chew and gnaw on everything. So, if you want to take them out of the cage, make sure to mouse-proof the room.
How To Know If Your Mouse Is Healthy
If you’re buying a pet mouse for the first time, here are some ways to recognize they’re healthy:
- Bright eyes
- Shiny fur
- Healthy fur
- High energy (if not sleeping)
- Clean, dry rear end (no sign of diarrhea).
A mouse cage depends on the number of mice you intend to keep together. If you have a small group or a pair of female mice, a two-foot square cage provides ample space. It’s important to build a cage with multiple levels as mice like to climb.
Wired cages and glass aquariums make the best cages for pet mice. You must ensure that the cage has a secure mesh top that provides enough ventilation while hindering escape. You will also want to keep the cage away from drafts, direct sunlight, and other pets. Ideally, the best place to set up the cage is in a quiet location as mice get easily startled by loud noises.
Mice have a habit of marking their territory, so you should refrain from disinfecting the cage too frequently. Some modular plastic cages meant for hamsters also make great houses for pet mice. Check out our guide on hamster pet care for more information.
Place a lot of toys in their cage, including wood blocks, cardboard boxes, cotton ropes, ladders, willow balls, and tunnel-shaped toys to provide enough options for your pets to play. As mentioned above, these rodents also need to chew a lot to keep their teeth from overgrowing. Consider adding twigs, hardwood, and even chew-biscuits as additional toys.
- Mice prosper well on a diet of commercial rodent food, either in pellet or block form. Get products that consist of at least 16% protein, 4% fat, and 18% fiber
- Bite-size amounts of fresh veggies and fruits can also be offered two to three times every week. This may include zucchini, cucumber, broccoli, peas, carrot, apple, and banana
- Make sure clean and fresh drinking water is available in the cage at all times. The water should be changed daily
Purchasing Your Mouse
Of all the available rodents like pet rats, gerbils, and hamsters, mice are the most affordable pets. You can find them in almost every pet store, however, you might want to purchase from a store that separates the males and females at a young age.
When choosing mice, try to find those that are active, alert, and have a smooth and clean coat. Healthy mice will have wide-open bright eyes as well as pink and clean skin on their tails and ears. They’ll also have dry noses, ears, and anal areas. Healthy mice will breathe fast but it shouldn’t be noisy or labored.
How To Hold A Mouse
Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you want to hold your mouse:
- When picking the mouse up, try scooping it with the cup of your hand. Don’t squeeze the mouse’s body
- If the mouse is skittish, try holding it by the base of the tail and place the body on to the palm of your hand
- Don’t hold the mouse by the far-end of the tail as it may break off or the skin may peel off
- Hold the mouse above your lap or some other soft surface to avoid injury if it jumps off or falls
Like most rodents, mice are prone to common infections. Hence, it’s important to have insurance for exotic pets that can help you cover treatment costs. The most common diseases include:
- Respiratory Infections - This is a common disease caused by mycoplasma. You can prevent this by keeping the pets in a clean, warm, and dry environment.
- Lethargy & Anorexia - These aren’t common diseases but possible signs of illness in pet mice. If you notice these symptoms, you must take them to a vet.
- Overgrown Teeth - If the teeth don’t wear down properly, this can cause the mice to stop eating and drooling.
- Tumors - In mice, the mammary glands may extend along the sides and back, thus increasing the chances of cancer.
Maintaining good hygiene and taking care of the pet’s housing and diet needs can help avoid diseases and keep your pet mice healthy and energetic.