Keeping a Mouse or mice as pets is nothing new, people have kept and even shown them in conformation shows many years. There are several "Mouse Clubs", and I do not mean Micky. There are, however, somethings that you will need to know if you are buying your first pet Mouse.
Mice are relatively inexpensive animals to buy and to keep...but that does not mean that they should not have the proper care they deserve. You can buy a mouse for less then $2 (in some areas)...but it does not mean you should not treat it as a living, breathing being in your care. The pet deserves your respect. This animal now counts on and trusts you for their every need.
When buying your mouse, think two. Two of the same sex. Two that are young and from the same cage or near the same young age. Mice are social creatures and like to be housed with other or at least one other mouse. Actually, three is better. This way, if you should loose one, you will still have two.
Do not keep mice with other small animal species. Mice like to be kept with mice. Other species may well kill your pet mouse if placed in with or let to play with other species.
Most mice are very healthy throughout their lives and are very easy to keep. You can help keep them that way by keeping their cage clean, feed them correctly and make sure that your pets have fresh water at all times.
Mice are quiet (unless you buy a noisy exercise wheel) and they are clean by nature. Mice are like a cat or a good over...self cleaning. They do not need for you to give them a bath.
Males correctly called bucks are going to smell. It is a fact of mouse ownership, buck's cages smell. Females do smell less then male mice, but you will still have a "mousy odor".
It is easy to purchase food for mice in about any city you might live in. You can buy Rodent Lab Blocks, these are about 1" square and nutritionally complete for mice. They are easy to use and there will be little waste. Or you can buy a Mouse/Rat seed mix. Just be sure to feed your little pet correctly. Do not overfeed your mouse treats.
In today's world water bottles are easy to find in both dept. stores and pet stores and usually do not cost too much. You will not need a very large water bottle for mice. If you have a water bottle four ounces or larger do not fill it all the way up. Mice do not drink that much water in a day and if the water bottle is played with or broken, 4 oz or more will soak your mice cage. Refill your pets water daily....every day, every single day. You will also need to rinse and clean the water bottle frequently.
There are many types of cages you can purchase for your new pet mice. Many are very cute but hard to clean. Some, although marketed for mice, are very small. Other cages have bars that are too far apart or not ridged enough to hold mice in it. Make sure you buy a cage that is roomy and safe for the mice, buy the largest cage for them you can afford.
You will need a cage with a door that locks when it shuts and bars that are tight. Mice will try to get out of the cage all the time. It does not mean that you are not caring for them correctly, it just means they are curious little creatures and want to see more of your/their home.
There are many cute little Hide Boxes you can buy for your pets. Wood is not the best choice. While the mice will enjoy chewing the wood, the wood will absorb the mouse urine and will stink. Mice will chew up plastic Hide Boxes quicker then wood, but believe me on this one....you will be glad how easy it will be to clean this plastic Hide Box when you clean the mouse's cage.
You can also just use a small cardboard box. I use these. I use empty food boxes, human foods, like mashed potatoes, oatmeal, cereal (for my bigger guys, Guinea Pigs, Ratties). I throw these boxes away every couple of days and add a new one.
Feeding mice is a fun event. If you start with a good grade standard mouse mix or lab blocks you can add a little something for the mice for a treat. I give my mice and other small animals very small pieces of veggies and fruit. Very small? Yes, look at the small animals head, now would you eat an apple the size of your head? I think not. <grin> A piece about the size of or a pea is a very good size of veggie or fruit per mouse. Personally I like to feed/care for my small animals and then just sit down and watch them enjoy.
Enjoy your small animals!!
PLEASE NOTE: If you are buying your first mice or if you have had many, please read many books and websites about mice care. There are many opinions on keeping and training pets. Keep in mind just because you read it once, it does not make it true. Many times "fads" come up in any species of animal keeping and training. Just because one or two people on an elist, group or chat list do things a certain way does not mean it is the only way. Please get several opinions from those that have kept the animals for several years.
A NOTE ABOUT MITES AND LICE
I hear it all the time.....lice and or mites came in on my shavings and or food. THIS IS NOT TRUE! Unless of course other animals of the same species have previously been on those items before they came to your home.
Lice and mites are species/host specific! Horse lice do not live on cows, rattie lice do not live on cats, they might bite and be on an animal other then there species for a short time. But they will not take up residence there.
Mites are always present and kept at bay by the immune system. If you or your animals immune system is off or compromised, the itching begins. They mites become a problem for the animal that they are on, and possibly the animals they live with of the same species.
If you think your animal has lice, look at their skin, usually on the neck. You can go to the Dollar Store and for $1 buy a pair of magnifying reading glasses. We keep a pair of 200% in our first aid kit. (splinters, small cuts, looking closely at wounds, and of course looking for bugs) You will be able to see any creepy crawly thing on animals with these glasses. Yes there is a way to know loooong before there is an infestation on an animal. If your animal has an infestation it will be scratching, not sleeping well, probably not eating well, have sores, and not be happy. If you can not see the bugs without the glasses, with them it will be very clear.
We use Ivemictrin and or Premithin on all of our animals, except the cats. I buy it in a horse tube form (like $1.99 and that will take care of 1200 pounds of animals) We place a small, size of a piece of rice, on the back of ratties head and let them clean it off. It will work for parasites in and out of animals (worms too). Mites and lice are in/on allllll living animals. Good health keeps them at bay, Stress will explode a case of them. They are also shared animal to animal and in fact person to person. I WILL NEVER USE ANOTHER PERSONS BRUSH OR COMB OR WEAR THEIR HAT! LOL
So, yes. If your veterinarian told you that Lice and or Mites came in on the shavings or food, I AM telling you that vet is wrong. Please do the research on the Internet for yourself on the bugs and find the truth.
The contents of this page for Mouse Care is still under construction. Please check back later!
I WOULD LIKE TO INVITE YOU TO A COUPLE OF eLISTS WE HOST AT YAHOO GROUPS. IT IS A GOOD PLACE WITH FRIENDLY PEOPLE TO ASK ALL OF YOUR MOUSE CARE AND TRAINING QUESTIONS. On elists you will be able to get more then one opinion, that is a good thing. With lists and books and websites to read your mouse should have the best care you can give.
WE ALSO HAVE A FREE MONTHLY PHOTO CONTEST AT OUR www.smallanimalfun.com WEBSITE AND WOULD LOVE FOR YOU TO ENTER YOUR SMALL PETS. IT HAS A $21.75 GIFT CERTIFICATE TO OUR SITES FOR A PRIZE FOR THE WINNER....COME SEE, COME ENTER
-- The Mouse Agility Team