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Pet Mice Information
Mice as pets are actually far more common than one would ever guess. Along with your standard domestic pet mouse, there are "spiny mice" which are desert mice that, frankly, are a little difficult to care for and "fancy mice" which have been bred for show purposes.
Pet Mouse Info
There are over 40 varieties of mice. Some mice are exhibition quality, the "thoroughbreds" of the mouse world and can be found in exotic shades such as sable, pearl, cinnamon, blue or silver. Others are satin, long haired or and curly haired. They are far removed from the common house mouse. Pet shop mice are somewhere in the middle. Most of the time their colors are white or brown.
Female mice make the best pets because their urine does not smell as bad as that of the male. Two female mice together are good so as to provide company for each other. Two males will fight bitterly, as well as smell pretty stinky. A male and a female together will probably turn your home into a mouse factory by producing more and more babies.
Surprisingly, mice can be active and entertaining pets, which, believe it or not, can be trained to do surprisingly complex tricks. However, mice are usually quite skittish around people unless you start handling them from a very early age. Since mice are nocturnal, it is best if they are left alone to sleep until late in the evening. Then they can be taken out and handled.
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Pet Mice Life Span
The normal lifespan of mice is 1 1/2 to 2 year with some living as long as 3 years.
Pet Mouse Houses
Pet mice cages come in four types: wooden cages, wire cages, plastic cages, and aquariums. The metal wire cages are good because the mice can climb all over the walls, but they do let the mouse bedding escape. The most important precaution to take when purchasing a wire mouse cage is to make sure the grid is small enough, ideally 1/4 inch. Mice can escape through wire cages that have too large a spacing. Regardless of what kind of a Mouse home you select, make certain there is adequate ventilation to prevent condensation.
The plastic cages designed for hamsters actually work quite well with mice although they are hard to clean. And a determined mouse could chew right through it. In addition, the plastic can be somewhat toxic when gnawed. And the tubes can be difficult to clean.
If the cage is plastic or glass, then extra care must be taken to make sure it is completely closed. We highly suggest that the screen top be tight fitting or even strapped down because mice can push their way through very small holes and escape.
Aquariums work great with mice as they are easy to clean and will help you keep your house clean. (The bedding does not fall out.)
You should clean the cage and change the bedding at least once a week. It may be advantageous to have two cages so that you can alternate between them when you clean the other.
Pet mouse homes should be placed in a shady, quiet location in the house. Most any convenient, shady place should be find as long as they are never exposed to direct sunlight.
Caring For a Pet Mouse, Information About Pet Mouse Health, Pet Mouse Care
Sawdust deep enough to let the animals burrow is recommended for the cage bottom with hay or paper to nest in. A bedding of shredded paper/newspapers with non-toxic ink or white paper towels can work well. Do not use pine or cedar for bedding. Although cedar masks the smell of the cage, it contains some very strong oils. These volatile oils can also irritate the skin and eyes of many rodents and possibly even cause permanent damage or death. The best choice is probably either aspen chips/shavings which have no such oils or reprocessed paper chips or pellet litter.
Mice will make a nest out of various bits of cloth, paper products including facial tissue, papers towels or even toilet paper. A nesting box can be as simple as a cardboard shoe box or a plastic pet store house. Cotton, however, can get clogged in the mouth, so that is not the best choice. There are a lot of things you can put in the cage that won't cost you anything.
Mice need some type of wood to gnaw on because their teeth continually grow and need to be worn down through chewing. We do not suggest that you just go out and grab some old piece of wood, as you don't know what might be living in it. New sticks of wood should work, but make sure they are not pine or cedar. It might be easier to buy wood from a pet shop or lumber company that you know has not been chemically treated, pressure treated or is otherwise toxic.
Mice love to have fun. They like lots of simple toys, from paper towel tubes to sticks and other miscellaneous ropes, toys and pretty much anything they can climb into. They will also greatly appreciate a wheel for exercising and play. Make sure it is big enough.
It is often easiest to get a simple water dispenser, as it can't spill and keeps the water clean for several days to a week at time. A heavyish, shallow food bowl is best as it doesn't flip easily and is easy to clean.
Feed your mice a basic diet of whole or rolled oats with a little hamster food and budgerigar seed given occasionally for variety. You can also feed them bread, preferably whole meal (soaked in water and squeezed out). Dog biscuits are good for their teeth. Never feed your pet chocolate as it is not good for them. Nursing mothers will appreciate milk, as it has a lot of the vitamins and minerals they need.
In the summer they love the yellow Dandelion heads and also seeding grass, but don't overdo it. They like a little carrot, plain pasta and are also partial to boiled rice. Mice are omnivorous. They will eat just about anything. But it is a myth that they love cheese. Cheese doesn't do them any good and it is usually only used in mousetraps because it smells strong and easily sticks to the little spike.
Socializing Your Mouse
Although mice do bite, it is usually from being frightened. Let your mouse slowly get used to you by feeding it raisins or various seed by hand. Soon you'll be able to gently carry your pet around with you.
Catching an Escaped Mouse
If your mouse gets away don't worry. Often they will return to the cage on their own to get food and water. Additionally, you can place a can on it's side, and try to lure or herd your pet mouse back into it. This is actually a good handling technique for new mice that aren't yet tamed.
With proper care and feeding you and your family should have an enjoyable experience raising mice.
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