Pet Mice

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When people think about pet mice they predictably think about a typical white mouse. In fact there are well over 40 varieties. Display quality mice, which are the thorough breeds of mice can be found in striking shades such as Pearl or Sable, Cinnamon or Himalayan and Blue or Silver. Pet shop mice are anywhere in the middle and are often white, or piebald, or "brown".

Pet mice live for about 1.5 to 2 years and grow to a size of approximately 6-7 inches long, including the tail with the tail making up about half that length.

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.
Handling
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.

Feeding
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.
Breeding
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.
Illnesses
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 active.

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.

  • Mice will normally sleep for over 12 hours a day.
  • Mice eat, or at least chew anything that is softer than their teeth.
  • Mice are very neat as they will sleep, eat and defecate in different places.
  • Mice do not like rats as rats are known to prey on mice however in the wild they do live together.
  • Mice can jump straight up to about 18 inches and are also very good climbers and swimmers.
  • A male mouse is called a buck.
  • A female mouse is called a doe.
  • The offspring of mice are called pups or kitten.
  • A group of mice are called a family, horde or a nest.
  • A wild mouse will live no longer than 1 year.
  • A pet mouse may live for between 2 and 3 years.
  • A mouseís tail is almost as long as its body.
  • Mice do not see in colour.
  • Mice are nocturnal creatures.
  • Mice can and will chew through anything softer than their teeth.
  • Mice cause more than 1 billion dollarsí worth of damage in the US alone each year.

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