Although many people are afraid of mice, certain breeds of mice can make great pets. House mice, scientifically known as (Mus musculus) can make good pets for adults or older children. They come in a variety of colours like white, grey, light brown, dark brown and black; they weigh about 1 ounce and live for approximately 2 years. Mice are social animals so you may want to get more than one. Getting mice (either male or female) from the same litter is a good thing to do as they will likely get along. Mixing two male mice from different litters is not recommended as they are prone to fighting, but mixing two female mice from different litters is generally okay. Since mice only live for about two years they reach sexual maturity very quickly, usually by 6-8 weeks. After that time males and females should be separated to avoid unwanted pregnancy, or you can ask your vet about spaying/neutering.
Mice are nocturnal which means that they spend the majority of their day sleeping and are quite active at night. Given this fact you may choose to keep the cage in an area that won’t disturb you. In terms of the cage itself, larger is generally better since it gives the mouse/mice more room to move around in. The cage should be closed on 4 sides as mice don’t like drafts, but the roof should be made of wire mesh to allow for adequate ventilation. Plastic cages are recommended as they are light and easy to clean and the mouse/mice won’t chew on plastic. The floor of the cage should be able to absorb urine and wood shavings or other mouse litter is recommended. You’ll need to change the shavings every third day or the cage will begin to smell. You’ll need to wash the inside of the cage about once a week. The cage should also have appropriate mouse toys to stimulate the mouse/mice as mice are very active and love to play. Again, a larger cage is much better than a small one.
In terms of playing with a mouse outside the cage, it’s safest to play with them in a contained area so that they won’t run away or get lost in a tight spot. The best way to pick up a mouse is from the middle of its tail and let it rest in your hand. Be careful not to drop the mouse as mice are fragile and can easily get injured. Mice normally like to be petted, but need to be petted gently as they can bite if they are afraid or get nervous.
Feeding a mouse is fairly easy and trouble free. A good quality commercial mouse food can be found in most pet stores and will contain everything that a mouse needs. Fresh water is of course essential and a bottle that attaches to the cage is recommended. Mice only need to be fed once a day, preferably at night. They can be given treats like sunflower seeds and fresh fruit or veggies, but sparingly.
It goes without saying that mice and cats and dogs normally don’t mix as mice are food for these animals. Make sure you play with mice in a closed off area from other pets. It also makes good sense to keep the mouse’s cage in a room that cannot be accessed by cats or dogs as their presence can easily make mice anxious.
This article should only be considered as a brief introduction to keeping mice as pets. Please investigate this topic further if you are considering getting pet mice.