The most common and popular mouse available as a pet is the domestic pet mouse. These mice have been selectively bred to enhance the desirable qualities of the mice. There are also spiny mice, which are desert creatures that are more difficult to care for. For our purpose, we will be discussing and examining the ordinary domestic mouse.
Ordinary does not necessarily mean boring, however, if you have ever seen a group of pet mice playing, you realize they can be quite entertaining pets.
They tend to be somewhat skittish and harder to handle than larger rodents such as rats, but they can become very tame and will take food from the hand as well as allow themselves to be handled if started as a young age. They are ideal small pets that are entertaining to watch, are easy to care for and make very few demands on their owners.
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The mouse lifespan is one of the biggest drawbacks of mice. On average they can live as long as three years, which is common, but many live up to two years while other’s live anywhere from one-and-a-half-years to two years.
Mice are nocturnal and extremely social. They are busy little animals during the evening and night, but don’t expect to a much with them during the day time. As social creatures, they are best kept in groups. A pair of females is the easiest, although larger groups are fine if you provide sufficient space. Pairs of males need to be avoided, unless they are litter mates, never separated, and given a large enough cage that they can have their own space. Males that are unknown to each other are very likely to fight.
Keeping females and males together should be avoided, unless you want lots of mice in a very short period of time. They mate frequently and produce many offsprings.
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Here at Petware House, we are committed to supplying only the healthiest pets possible. You can expect to find active bright mice, with smooth clean coats and pink clean skin on the ears and tail. As part of our maintenance, we ensure all mice are free of any eye discharge and take extra measures to ensure the mouth and anal glands are clean and dry. We help take any of the guess work out of picking your next pet.
When choosing a healthy mouse, look for relatively fast breathing, but should not be labored or noisy. Ensure their enclosure is clean and that mice have been cared for. Lastly check droppings to ensure they are well formed.
Here at Petware House, we separate males and female mice at young age, keeping in mind that mice can reproduce by six to eight weeks of age, although this is very stressful on the female and should avoided. This ensures that you will not be taking home a pregnant female. Telling sex apart between young males and females, check under their tails for distance between the anal opening and genital opening – the distance is shorter for females. In older males, the testicular region is usually visible.
The size of your mouse enclosure depends primarily on how many mice you intend to keep. For a pair or small group of mice, a two foot cage is ample space. Your mice will also appreciate a cage with multiple levels as they do like to climb and it should be a fairly tall enclosure.
Glass and wire cages are not only popular for pet mice, they also happen to be the best type of enclosure for housing these little critters.
Aquariums require a tight fitting mesh lid and lots of furnishings for climbing and playing. In addition it’s also important to remember that ammonia and other fumes will build up a lot quicker in an aquarium or plastic sided enclosure than a wire cage. However, as long as the lit remains tight fitting, they are pretty much escape-proof and have the added advantage of allowing a deep layer of bedding that mice cannot spread all over your floor.
Wire cages are nice as they allow lots of climbing opportunity along the sides of the cage, and it is easier to affix furnishings, platforms, and toys. The most important thing is ensure the bars are not too narrowly placed so that the mice can escape (or hurt themselves trying to escape) and that the doors are placed for easy access to the entire cage for when you need to catch your pet mice.
Here at Petware House, we have an abundance of cages to choose from. We can tell you that most marked for mice cages are generally quite small, so you may want to consider bird cages or even hamster cages, but ideally the bar spacing should be at least one-quarter inch. Do not underestimate how small of a space a mouse can squeeze through. Also, avoid using cages wire-mesh flooring as solid flooring will be a lot easier on the mice’s feet.
Hamster cages, which are most plastic cages are actually nicely suited to the mouse size and activity level but are difficult to clean, are sometimes poorly ventilated and a well-determined mouse could chew right through the plastic.
Your mouse cage should be placed where your mice will have lots of human contact to make the taming process an easy one. Be sure to keep it away from drafts and direct sunlight and out of reach of other household pets.
A fairly deep layer of suitable substrate should be provided in the cage. Aspen shavings are a good choice for substrate but avoid using cedar and pine shavings due to the strong volatile oils released from these woods. Another alternative is paper or wood based cat litter as it is easy to absorb and quite good at controlling odors. It is more expensive, but you will likely use a lot less.
Also, nesting material should be provided. Strips of facial tissue or other soft paper towel will be nicely shredded by mice and make nice nesting material. We don’t recommend a commercial cotton betting material as strands that get caught on mice’s feet. Hay can also be used.
Be sure to provide a nest box if you keep male and female mice. PVC pluming pieces will work well. Small cardboard boxes are a good solution as well, but will eventually be torn to shreds over time and need to be replaced fairly frequently. We also carry a wide-variety of nesting boxes, right here at Petware House, so don’t hesitate to ask.
On a four-to-five-week frequency, be sure to clean out nesting material and replace with freshened up items. More frequent changes may be too disruptive for your mice.
Mice will require regular play and exercise. They love to run on wheels so try to provide one. You guessed it, we carry many, right here at Petware House. A solid solid surface wheel is easier on their feet than a wire wheel. Also provide some tunnels or tubes such as plastic plumbing pipes for their enjoyment. Consider some other toys as well such as wood blocks, small cardboard boxes, ladders, egg cartons and so on. Be creative and provide lots of variety, just make sure they are not ingesting bits of plastic or other parts.
For water supply, use a gravity feeder bottle with a dispenser as it can’t tip and keeps the water clean. A shallow food bowl made of ceramic or porcelain is the best choice as they are difficult to tip, are easy to clean and won’t get chewed up.
Frequent cleaning is highly recommended and really depends on the size of the cage and the number of pet mice kept. Plastic and glass sided cages that allow for ammonia and odors to build up quickly should be cleaned more frequently. It’s usually best not to wait until you can smell a problem because it can become quite overwhelming to your pet mice by that point. Keep in mind that mice need to mark their territory and if their cage is completely disinfected too frequently they may be distressed. A good compromise is to leave a bit of the old shavings or liter in the cage at each cleaning interval, and only to do a through scrubbing and disinfecting when absolutely necessary.
Mice require a healthy diet in order to stay active and happy. You will find a variety of great food for your Mice
might here at Petware House and some fresh fruits at your local grocer. Lab blocks, sometimes called rodent diet
or rodent chow, fruits, cheerio’s and bread can be given to your pet. Introduce fruits as a slower pace to avoid diarrhea.
Clean fresh water should be provided using a hanging bottle. Mice will hide a pile of food under the bedding and eat it later
at their own leisure.
Mouse Care Sheet
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