Categories | Small Animal Breeder | Mice Breeders
When you think of mice, many people think of the common house mice or the white mice that are used in laboratories but there is so much more to mice than this, especially those that have been bred as pets. Here’s what you need to know.
Many people are grossed out just by hearing the word “mouse” but the fact is that mice can make great pets, even for kids, as they are easy to keep, don’t need much space, don’t need much food, a and they are easy to handle.
The mice that are for keeping as pets are extremely far removed from the “pest” mice that can enter your home or the mice that are used in laboratories or as food for animals. Pet mice are actually quite attractive. The main colour that many people think of when the word “mice” is mentioned is white or a “mousey” brown colour. Pet mice are actually available in all colours and colour combinations, including caramel, cinnamon, Himalayan, sable, pearl, browns, blues, silvers, white, black, piebald, and reds.
If you are keeping mice as pets, you will need to give them the correct housing. The housing can be in the form of a glass or acrylic aquarium/terrarium or a cage. The key is to use housing that gives your mice plenty of ventilation but is also escape proof (you’d be amazed at how easily mice can squeeze through even tiny gaps!). Once you have selected a cage, you will need to provide some kind of bedding, as well as a nesting material. Shredded paper or newspaper is a great choice as is straw, or even paper kitty litter. The RSCPA warns that due to its fine particles, sawdust can cause respiratory problems and hence is not a good choice for bedding.
Mice can be very active and inquisitive creatures so you need to make their home interesting for them. You can do this by providing plenty of toys – the mouse wheel is enduringly popular but you can also provide tunnels, mazes, toilet rolls, chewing toys, balls and the like. Just make sure that the toys that you choose are safe and non toxic for your mice.
You will need to clean your mice’s cage regularly – at least once a week in order to keep it clean and hygienic and free of odour. It is a good idea to have a backup cage to place your mice in so you don’t risk them escaping as you are cleaning.
Feeding and Caring for Mice
The main part of a mouse’s diet will be mouse pellets, as these are balanced to deliver your mice the nutrients that they require. As well, you can supplement the diet with oats, wholemeal bread, carrots, and fresh fruit and veggies (but not lettuce or celery). Mice will accept just about anything as a special treat, even the stuff that is no good for them, so be careful not to overdo the treats (such as popcorn, cheese, and nuts). Of course, like any other pet, you will need to make sure that your mice have a constant supply of fresh, clean water. Do not use plastic food and water bowls as they are too easily chewed.
Be aware that if you plan on keeping more than one mouse as a pet, it is best to keep two females together (as the urine of the female mouse doesn’t smell like the male’s). It is not a great idea to keep mice of the opposite sex together unless you want lots of babies, and two or more male mice kept together will fight. You will also need to learn how to handle your mice properly. The best way to pick a mouse up is by the base of its tail, and not the end. Place the mouse in your hand straightaway.
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