When most people think of keeping a pet, a mouse might not be the first thing that comes to mind. Cats and dogs usually do. However, if you have limited space or young children, it would be worthwhile to consider keeping mice.
Mice make good pets because they are intelligent, train well, take up little space, and given time, they bond well with you. They are also affordable, entertaining, and are not noisy at all. However, mice tend to bite, but they only do so when scared or if you don’t handle them well.
Read on to discover why mice make excellent pets. You will also learn how to choose and take care of your pets, including how to feed, house, keep them active, and lots more. Let’s get on to it.
Why Are Mice Good Pets to Have?
Mice pets are not a new idea. They have been around for ages. These small, cute animals are generally curious and not quite timid – they nip hard when fearful. However, you can train them to be more friendly since they seem to like human companionship.
Pet mice are easy to handle though you need to be gentle. You also need to be patient with them, especially if they are not tame. However, with training, you can hold them and even teach them to pick food held out to them.
Mice are nocturnal. Thus, they are most active during nighttime and sleep during the day. If you work during the daytime, you will enjoy having mice as pets since you can spend time together after work.
But there’s one downside. If you have very young kids, pet mice might not be ideal since they are too tiny for your kids to play with.
How to Choose Your Pet Mice
Mice love the company of other mice, so get more than one. If you have ample space, you can keep even more. It’s also best to go for two females because they are not as smelly as their male counterparts. They also tend to be less territorial.
Most pet mice sport plain-colored smooth coats, but it’s not unusual to see fancy mice with coats bearing unique colors and patterns. Some of the common colors range from white, brown to black, grey, or blue-gray.
When choosing your mice pets, check that their coats are clean, shiny, and without bald patches. They should also have bright, alert eyes. Avoid mice bearing a fearful, sad look or discharge from the eyes or nose as they could be sick.
How to Handle Your Pet Mice
Mice are fragile creatures; hence, you want to handle them with great care. Besides, a fall could lead to injury, and if you use the tail to pick up your mouse, it could get broken. Therefore, always scoop up your mouse with your hands beneath the pet’s body.
Alternatively, pick the mouse from the tail base but ensure to raise the feet slightly to enable your other hand to lift the mouse. You can also train your pet to perch on your shoulder or sit in your pocket.
When children are handling the mice, they need to be seated to avoid hurting the mice if they accidentally drop them. The mice could also jump out of their hands and injure themselves.
How to Take Care of Your Pet Mice
Below are useful tips on how to take care of your pet mice to ensure they remain healthy and active.
They Don’t Need Grooming
Fortunately for you, caring for your pet mice is pretty easy since they don’t need any grooming. You see, like cats, they like to clean themselves. You don’t have to bathe them either because they keep their coats clean and shiny if their surroundings are tidy too.
Nonetheless, mice teeth continue growing and thus need to be worn down regularly. Pellets help maintain the teeth at an ideal length, but you can also add chewable non-toxic toys or carrot sticks. However, the two front teeth might need clipping to avoid damage.
They Need a Clean, Secure Home
Mice can escape through tiny spaces with great ease. What’s more, they will chew their way through wood, cardboard, and plastic. Be sure to keep their cages closed at all times or once the kids are done playing with them.
Keep your pets in a clear, well-ventilated glass container or a wire cage with a secure lid. Ensure to place the mice where they can access human contact but away from drafts, direct sunshine, and other pets.
It’s a good idea to line the container with sawdust and provide nesting material like tissue paper. The mice will use such material to build themselves nests.
Remove the flooring material once a week and replace it with fresh material to prevent it from getting smelly. Make sure to clean the enclosure thoroughly using warm water and to get rid of any waste matter.
They Need Exercise
Mice are energetic animals; hence they need to keep active. Exercise also helps them to burn off excess energy. Get your pet mice toys like wheels, munch balls, and play tubes to play with.
If you allow your pets to step outside their cage, prevent them from chewing your cables by placing them in a Kritter Krawler. This exercise ball allows the mice to run around in a confined space.
Provide Them With Enough Food and Water
Mice are constantly feeding, so ensure they always have something to eat and drink. Provide them with essential vitamins and minerals by buying for them mouse pellets. Once in a while, you can also supplement with seeds, grains, fruits, vegetables, or herbs.
Be careful not to let your pet mice feed on everything they come across – as they are most likely to do. Foods to avoid include fatty and sugary foods, dairy products, peanut butter, lettuce, and celery. Chocolate is toxic to mice, so avoid it at all costs.
Keep Them Healthy
It’s important to keep tabs on the health of your pet mice. If you notice your mice scratching a lot, this could be due to a fungal illness or skin mites. Sneezing, diarrhea, wheezing, or bloody mucus are all signs of ill health. Ensure to take your pets to the veterinary clinic if they exhibit any of these symptoms.
Also, mice are prone to suffer from potentially fatal upper respiratory infections (URIs). This illness causes them to lose appetite, cough, have labored breathing, or get quickly exhausted. Take them to get proper medical attention as soon as possible.
Finally, mice reproduce quite fast, which can be taxing on the females. As such, you want to avoid keeping males and females together to avoid over- breeding.
Pet mice make excellent pets for children and adults alike. They are adorable, affectionate, and easy to care for as they are not demanding. Unfortunately, mice only live for 1-2 years. Losing a pet too soon might be tough on young children, so you need to be sure they will be able to handle the loss.
Generally, pet mice need a clean, comfortable environment. Follow the below guidelines to ensure that you meet all their needs:
- Provide them with well-ventilated enclosures such as wire cages, which allow them to keep cool.
- Use thick, comfortable bedding to allow the mice to burrow and nest.
- Avoid using toxic nesting material such as cedar shavings, which could cause URIs.
- Avoid exposing your pet mice to smoke, perfumes, or airborne chemicals.
Follow these tips, and you will enjoy having your pet mice around for as long as you can.