Mice make lovely pets. They are small, undemanding and fairly easy to keep. Mice can live up to three years of age. Here are a few tips to keep your mice in good condition and happy.
Mice are sociable creatures. A lone mouse will feel lonely and sleep or hide away. It is best to keep two or more females (does) together. Introduce them soon after weaning as they will probably not accept new arrivals as they get older. Two males (bucks) may also fight and their urine has a strong odour, a smell which is not so strong in females. Be careful of having a male and female together. They can breed several times a year and have up to thirteen babies in a litter!
A big ten gallon aquarium with a secure wire lid is a suitable home for up to ten mice. Make sure it is placed in a draught free location away from the glare of the sun. Bedding needs to be changed once a week for females and twice a week for males. Mice are full of fun and each will have a unique personality. Generally, they love to play, so it is important to provide toys (wheels and tunnels) in the aquarium. Some will be fitness fanatics, spending hours on mice wheels! Others will more laid back and spend time relaxing in their bedding. Hay is the best bedding as the mice will also eat this and it provides essential roughage in their diet.
Perhaps surprisingly, mice can be fussy eaters. Choose a good quality pellet food and add small quantities of fruit and vegetables. Their staple diet should consist of mixed corn, flaked maize, crushed dried peas etc. Beware of giving too many fresh foods as these may rot and make your mice ill. Provide fresh water at all times.
Mice’ teeth grow continually and need to be kept worn down. A chewing stick will encourage gnawing. Overgrown incisor teeth will need to be trimmed by a vet.
Although they have big eyes, mice are actually very near sighted. They rely on smell and touch. Always lift a mouse by the base of the tail and place your other hand underneath the animal when handling.
There are well over fifty varieties of fancy mice, varieties include fawn, red, black, dove, argente, variagated, banded, Himilayan, rex, longhaired and satin. Cross breading turns up yet further varieties which may not be suitable for showing, but which are perfectly suitable as pets.