Choosing a Mouse as a Pet
A mouse measures about 3 1/2 inches, not including tail, and weighs just 1/2 to one ounce. While white (albino) mice are the most common type, fancy mice can be twice the average size; and come in a wide variety of coat colours and types, from curly and shiny to silver and cinnamon.
Mice are curious, charming pets, and will be active at various times throughout the day. However, they are fragile and should be treated gently; and children caring for them should always be supervised by an adult. Mice are happy, playful and active creatures and are great to watch. Once they get to know their owners and they are well socialised, they will come to take treats from you; climb onto your hand and up to your shoulder. However, they are by nature timid and so you need to spend time getting to know them.
Company for Mice
As mice are social animals, they are better kept in pairs. Male mice are better living with female mice and not another male. Females of course, will live together.
The average lifespan of a Mouse is between one and two years.
Where Mice Like to Live
Mice like to ramble and climb around their home so make sure their cage has plenty of hiding places. Your cage size must reflect the amount of mice living in it, if you have a trio of female mice it must be big enough for them all. Cages should be kept indoors, away from direct sunlight, radiators and draughts.
Where Do Mice Come From?
The house mouse probably originated in Iran and Turkestan where it would have lived in rocky crevices. At some point it formed a close association with humans, and spread with them to Europe.
Exercise & Play for Mice
Pet mice are social and active animals that need a variety of toys to chew on, as well as items that provide opportunities for exercise. A good quality wheel will provide lots of exercise while a variety of toys to climb and chew on will also help keep pet mice active and healthy.
Mice quickly learn to climb into their owner’s hand and then up to their shoulder. Mice also love to explore pockets to see if there are any treats in there and to run inside sleeves.
To interact with your mouse you can construct a maze from cardboard rolls and boxes and put treats at the end of it. Mice love to be caressed and scratched gently behind the ears; but it is recommended that you get to know your mouse before petting it. Mice generally don’t bite but may if they are very scared.
Be prepared for your mice to make noises at night as they are nocturnal creatures they will scamper about and play.
Diet & Nutrition
Food should be made available at all times; alternate between good quality mouse food and very small amounts of washed vegetables and fruit. Don’t feed them too much fruit or vegetables otherwise they may get diarrhoea. Sunflower seeds are a treat for mice. Make sure there is always fresh water available for the mice on a daily basis.
These foods are dangerous for mice; chocolate, peanuts, acidic fruits (oranges, lemons, etc), acidic vegetables (onions, garlic, etc), and raw meats.
Health & Hygiene
Keep your Mouse in good health by providing a balanced diet, lots of exercise and a clean living space.
A healthy mouse will:
- Have a smooth clean coat with pink clean skin on the ears and tail
- Have discharge free eyes
- Breathe relatively fast; it should not be laboured or noisy
Scabs & Sores
These appear on the back or head area of mice and are due to either a parasite infection or a food intolerance.
Mites are a common parasite that infect mice; however, they are very difficult to see with the naked eye. If you suspect your mouse may have mites bring them to your vet and make sure their home is cleaned thoroughly for when they return.
Coughing or Sneezing
Respiratory illness manifests itself in mice with what sounds like a tiny sneeze or cough. While this may look and sound quite cute, it can indicate a serious problem if it occurs regularly. Remove them from their habitat and if the coughing/sneezing continues take your pet mouse to a local vet.
This is also very common in mice, this stems from feeding your mouse too many green vegetables. Simply eliminate these vegetables from your mouse’s diet.
Like most rodents, a healthy mouse needs very little grooming because they continually clean themselves by licking and combing their fur. They are happier living in groups, and it is part of their social order that they also groom each other.
Can Mice Be Neutered?
Yes they can, however any operation poses a threat to the mouse. We advise you speak to your vet and give it careful consideration.
Take Me Home Checklist
When you take your Mouse home, you need to make sure you have some things in order to keep it healthy and happy. We have put together a simple ‘Take Me Home’ checklist for all new mouse owners. If you have any questions or need any further advise please drop into your local Petmania and ask our Petcare advisors.
- Sturdy cage made from wire or glass (Plastic is not ideal as mice will eat through it)
- Mouse food
- Water bottle
- Feed bowl
- Paper or wood shavings
- Exercise wheel
- Wooden chew toy
- Suitable house for inside cage
- Tubing (optional as mice like to use these)