When I got my first pet mice I was looking for a pet that would not require a 10 – 15 year commitment. Don’t get me wrong I love dogs and cats but at the time I was not able to commit to a decade or more of pet care. Getting pet mice was an ideal compromise because the mice were very cute and fun to play with but I knew that they only had a short live span of one to three years.
I would really recommend pet mice to anyone who wants a pet but can’t make a long term commitment or even if they just don’t have the amount of space that a dog or cat might require.
When I first got my mice I started looking for information online that would help me to care for them properly. I am going to share what I have learned about caring for them and provide some of the links that I found useful.
Choosing your Pet Mice!
I can’t stress strongly enough that you need to be careful with where you buy your pet mice. Make sure that the males and females are kept separate so as to avoid choosing a pregnant female. The local pet shop where I purchased my first mice assured me that males and females were kept separate but the two I picked out turned out to be a male and a pregnant female (should have known not to pick the one with the big belly!). I had to separate these two when, after 6 days, the female mouse gave birth to 11 babies!
When the baby mice were 4 to 5 weeks old I had to sex them and make sure that the boys and girls were separated! I used the following link to help me to identify the sex of each mouse.
Although I did enjoy watching the baby mice grow up it was not my intention to have baby mice. So again I cannot stress strongly enough that you should be very careful when buying pet mice that there is no chance you could be buying a pregnant female.
Housing your Pet Mice
I chose to house my pet mice in cages that had three levels built into them. The mice really loved being able to climb ladders and move from one level to another and the openness of the cages meant that the mice had more ventilation. The only down side of having a cage rather than a glass tank was that the mice were able to flick food and bedding through the bars and onto the floor.
For their house where they slept, I provided them with shredded paper and some small animal bedding material made from recycled paper. I also found that they enjoyed tearing up pieces of kitchen towel which was softer and nicer for them to sleep on.
I didn’t find that the mice cages were overly smelly, but the cages that contained the males did have more smell than the female’s cages. I cleaned out the cages every week and gave fresh bedding etc. One tip I have is to use small squares of cardboard (I used old cereal boxes etc.) to line the bottom of the cage. These cardboard squares can be discarded and replaced when they became heavily soiled which reduces the smell of the cage.
I found the following link gave useful information when setting up a mouse cage.
Feeding your Pet Mice
I found that my mice really appreciated lots of variety in their diet. I did buy a good quality mouse food from the store but I also added some extras to it to keep the mice happy. I added things like oats, some sunflower seeds and split peas which the mice really loved. Aside from their regular food, mice love to have some little treats. I found that they loved to chew on small pieces of dog biscuits. My mice also loved to nibble on a Cheerio or Cornflake once or twice a day.
I would advise anyone considering starting out with pet mice to read up on the subject of mouse care first. The following link provides some great information for anyone who is considering having mice as pets.
If you require some basic information about caring for mice in a printable format then the two links below are in PDF format so they can be saved or printed.
I would thoroughly recommend having mice as pets because they are fairly easy to care for and are very entertaining to watch. Kids really love to watch and play with mice too. They do require regular maintenance such as cleaning their cage out each week but they are very sociable and with some patience they will soon be eating out of your hand!