Mice are great pets for people of all ages and, though high maintenance, are fun to watch and play with. They're friendlier than other small pets and are very clean. Read more about taking care of your new mouse friends below.
1. Get prepared. Before you bring your new pet home, it is important to get all the supplies you will need. Set up your cage and fill up the food/water bottle. When your new mice come home, they will need some time to adjust; being prepared beforehand makes the transition less stressful for you and the mouse.
2. Consider rescue. Purchasing from some of the larger pet shops means you run the risk of supporting rodent farms. Rescues often take in rodents and frequently have litters due to pet shops breeding tagar.
3. Get informed. Before you purchase a mouse, you should do some research into their care. Pet stores and personal websites are notorious for giving misinformation. The best resources for mouse care are the websites of responsible breeders.
4. Find a vet who works with pocket pets/exotic pets. Vet care is a necessity for any pet. Mice feel pain and suffer just as much as other, larger animals.
5. Decide if you want a single male or a trio of females. These are the best ratios, as female mice must be kept with friends and are easier to keep than males. Be sure that the choice you make fits with your life style.
6. Do not combine males and females. It is never safe to place a male and female together, even temporarily. Breeding might occur fast with mice and it is almost impossible to avoid pregnancy.
7. Choose a type of cage. The best cages for mice are wired cages with bar-spacing of less than 1cm.
8. Choose the right size of cage. Floor space matters more than head room when purchasing a cage.
9. Give them something to walk on. Bedding is a must. Never use pine or cedar, as these woods can harm a mouse's respiratory system and make it hard for them to breathe.
10. Give them something to nest in. Always provide your mice with a soft material that they can shred to build up their nest. Suitable materials include tissue paper (never use anything with added lotion), toilet paper, paper towels, and shredded fleece.
11. Avoid introducing parasites and other nasties. Bedding should be either frozen or baked before use. This eliminates any parasites.
12. Buy a water bottle and fill it often. It's best to use more than one water bottle attached to the side of the cage in case one bottle stops working, as mice can dehydrate extremely quickly.
13. Purchase food. Food should be available to mice at all times. Always provide fresh food daily, as their metabolisms are very high. Pre-made mixes designed for mice and rats contain too much protein for most pet shop mice.
14. Purchase snacks/supplements. Mouse snacks can be a variety of things. Only give treats in moderation (one or two treats from the list below throughout the week) and introduce new treats slowly.
15. Purchase or make toys. Mice are very curious creatures and require a lot of stimulation to be happy. Buy or create a diverse set of toys before you purchase your mouse.
16. Buy or create a nesting box. You mice should have a covered area available to them at all times. This provides a safe comfortable area for your pet to build a nest. Most mice do not like to sleep out in the open.
17. Clean the cage. Contrary to popular belief, mice are very clean animals. As their owner, you can keep them happy by completely cleaning their home once a week and spot cleaning at mid week. While you clean, you should have a temporary cage available for your mice.
18. Watch out for odor build-up. Male mice tend to have a stronger odor than females.
19. Provide exercise. Have a wheel available to your mice at all times. Never use a wheel with metal bars on the runner. Mice can have tails cut off or kinked by spokes.
20. Give your mice time to adjust. When you bring your new pet home, it is advised to give them three to four days in their cage alone to adjust to the new surroundings.
21. Start of on the right foot. After a few days you may begin bonding with your mouse. The first step is to create trust. From the mouse’s perspective, you are a very large and unfamiliar predator. It is important to be patient and calm when training your mouse.
22. Set a schedule. Mice respond very well to schedules, and using one makes training much easier.
23. Create a healthy and positive relationship. Once the mouse is familiar with your scent (this may take a day or a week depending on if they were purchased from a pet shop or a breeder), they will become braver. At this point a mouse may climb onto your hand.
24. Be patient. Do not expect the mouse to feel comfortable with you the first day you begin training.