It may be difficult to find a mouse in a local pet store as they
are not as popular as rabbits or guinea pigs. It is a shame as a
pet mouse requires very little space, can be kept indoors, and
is extremely cheap to feed. They will sit on your hand, wash
themselves and normally explore.
Female mice make better pets as their urine does not smell like
that of a male mouse. If you plan on keeping pet mice then it is
sensible to keep two female mice together to provide company for
one another. With two males there will be fighting and a male
and a female will keep producing babies.
Keep your mouse in a suitable cage as they like to chew and can
escape easily. You can also use a wooden box or cage, while
making sure that there is satisfactory ventilation to prevent
suffocation and condensation. If the cage has a glass front then
make sure that there is a gap to let air in, or drill little
holes in the roof of the cage. If there are no cats about you
can keep mice in a fish tank placing a metal grill over the top.
Sawdust should be used for the cage bottom, and hay or paper to
nest in. Shredded paper isn't very warm with newspapers being
thick and cosy.
You should clean your mice out at least once a week making sure
you have somewhere secure to keep the mice while the cage is
being cleaned, possibly another cage.
Mice love to have fun and with an old toilet roll tube or
kitchen towel tube they can amuse themselves for ages. Mouse
wheels are also popular, but make sure it is big enough and
remember to wash it every now and again.
Itís important to learn to pick mice up gently but firmly by the
root of the tail and not the tip, transferring them to your
hand. You may need to keep a hold on the tail to prevent a
nervous mouse leaping from your hand. It is believed that
picking a mouse up by its tale hurts the mouse, this is not
true. If it did hurt then the mouse would squeak.
You should feed your mice a basic diet of whole or rolled oats
with a little hamster food and budgerigar seed given very
occasionally for a change. You can feed them bread, preferably
wholemeal, every day soaked in water and squeezed out. Plain dog
biscuits are good for their teeth.
Water should always be available while a nursing mother will
appreciate a little milk.
In the summer mice love yellow Dandelion heads and also seeding
grass, though itís important not to overdo the summer treats.
Mice will also nibble on a little carrot and are also partial to
boiled rice and pasta. Mice are omnivorous with them loving
cheese being a myth. It doesn't do them much good and is
normally only used in mousetraps because it smells strongly and
has a good texture for putting on the little spike. In fact,
peanut butter works much better.
House mice will of course eat anything which is why they are
such a pest.
Mice are very easy to breed and can live for up to two years.
They are ready for breeding when they reach about 8 weeks old,
and they can deliver a litter of up to 12 babies in three weeks.
When the babies are born they are pink and blind, and you should
not disturb the nest too much. If you want to pick the babies up
then you must first remove the mother. Press your palm into the
sawdust in the cage to help disguise your scent before you pick
them up and do not keep them out of the nest for too long. After
about 6 days the fur will start to grow, and colour will begin
to appear. After another 4 days (10 in total) the mice will open
their eyes and at this age it is safer to handle them. You may
find it important to handle them at this age so that they get
used to being handle and become tamed. If they are not handled
when very young they are likely to become nervous and may jump
off your hand when you pick them up.
Mice are affected by very few illnesses. If you suspect that
your pet mouse is unwell, seek your vet's advice without delay.
However mice are normally healthy animals and when looked after
properly throughout their life are likely to remain fit and
A mouse can be annoying where mice can be a bigger problem!
Getting rid of mice can be done in many ways such as the use of
traps that kill or catch and poisons. Controlling mice in and
around your home must be taken seriously as they can introduce
illnesses to your family as well as transfer fleas to pets.