Discover the basics of mouse care to give your new friend a happy home. Here’s our helpful guide on mouse care 101 with everything you need to know.
A pet mouse makes a wonderful addition to a home. Mice are social, active and alert pets and are great friends for people of all ages. Here’s our guide to caring for a mouse with everything you need to know about feeding, hygiene, handling and grooming.
Is a pet mouse right for me?
Like with any pet, it’s important to consider if adopting a mouse is the right fit for you and your family. A mouse’s lifespan can reach up to two years, so you don’t want to bring a mouse home without first weighing up the options. Here’s a list of the top five things you should consider so you can make sure you’re making the right choice:
- Select the right housing for this pet
- Never house male and female mice together
- Provide supervised time for my mouse on a daily basis
- I can commit to taking care of my mouse
- An adult can provide primary care for this pet.
What should I feed my mouse?
A high-quality mouse-specific food should make up 90% of your mouse’s diet. Mice love fruits and vegetables such as pears strawberries, dates, raisins, apples, peas, broccoli, bananas, sprouts and carrots. And though they’ll be happy to eat lots of these tasty foods and treats, you shouldn’t feed them too much from this food group as you don’t want to upset their stomach. Only 10% of their diet should fall within this category. Keep in mind that any fruit or vegetables that they haven’t touched for more than a day should be thrown out. You should never feed your mouse chocolate, cabbage, corn or sugary foods as they can cause serious medical problems for your mouse. Other things to avoid include peanuts, uncooked beans, onion, alcohol, junk foods or caffeine. We recommend a solid food bowl to prevent spillage and chewing damage.
How much water should I give my mouse?
Fresh water, changed daily is essential for your pet mouse. A hanging water dispenser is a good choice, as water bowls can get messy and are often tipped over. Refresh your mouse’s water every morning, but you should check their water frequently on hot days.
Where should my mouse live?
Your mouse’s home should be made from glass, plastic or metal and it should be well ventilated but escape-proof – keep in mind that they can be great jumpers! Find a place in your home that is out of direct sunlight, draughts and where the temperature is not likely to change. Inside their cage, they’ll also need:
- An exercise wheel
- A hiding place filled with nesting material, where they will sleep
- A climbing area that includes either a ladder, built-in structure as part of the home or a chemical-free tree branch
- Tunnels for playing and hiding.
The home should have a nice, thick layer of bedding that sits at about 4cm deep. We recommend using natural timber wood shavings, such as the Peckish bedding range, pelleted options or shredded, ink-free paper. Their bedding needs to be nice and dry, as if it’s too dusty or damp, this can also lead to respiratory problems.
As they are quite easily startled, you definitely need to include a hiding place in their cage, so they can sleep in there, too. You can take your mouse out of their cage, but just be sure they can’t escape and no other pets can reach them.
How often should I clean my mouse’s house?
Each day, you’ll need to remove the wet spots from the bedding. Once or twice weekly, it’s good to change all of the bedding, but you may want to base your decision on the smell. We advise that you clean the cage weekly with hot water, leaving in the sun to dry before filling it with fresh bedding and returning your pet to their home. It’s also good to clean the food and water vessels daily. Give your mouse’s house a quick and easy refresh by using a bedding deodoriser. Check in with your local Petbarn team member to find out about the bedding spray options we have in stock..
Can I have more than one mouse?
If you have more than one mouse, keep in mind that male and females should not be housed together. Females will live well together, but males should only live together if they have been introduced at a very young age. They tend to fight if they meet at later stage. Mice should only live with other mice and not with other types of small animals.
How much exercise does my mouse need?
Mice are active little creatures that need their exercise. Most mice will love to use the exercise wheel or activity stations that you include in their home. While they have these, it’s also important that you set time aside each day to engage with them outside of their home. They tend to be nocturnal in nature, so it’s not unlikely that you’ll hear them having a ball in their exercise wheel in the early hours. These naturally inquisitive animals need to be kept stimulated, so finding ways to keep them alert and involved is important.
What’s the best way to handle my mouse?
Because of their small size, you need to handle these little friends with care. When you first start trying to pick them up, use treats to encourage them into your cupped hand and make sure they won’t slip out. Speak to them gently as you encourage them into your hand and soon they will become more accustomed to you and be keen to interact. Never pick your mouse up by their tail as this can lead to injury.
How should I groom my mouse?
Mice are naturally clean animals and take care of their own grooming. Mice can produce a strong odour, keeping in mind that males have a stronger smell due to their desire to mark territory. Females, however, aren’t likely to mark territory and don’t have such a strong smell. Though you may want to bathe your mouse, it’s not advised as they don’t like water.
How do I keep my mouse healthy?
Your mouse’s teeth grow constantly, so they need to have plenty of chew sticks to gnaw on. If their teeth become overgrown, it can lead to serious health problems and will need to be looked at by your vet.
The signs of a healthy mouse include:
- An active, alert and sociable personality
- Healthy fur
- Clear, bright eyes
- A healthy appetite for food and water
- Communicates via squeaking
- Walks easily around their home.
The signs of an unhealthy mouse are:
- Overgrown teeth
- Abnormal hair loss
- Diarrhoea or a dirty bottom
- Skin lesions
- Eye or nasal discharge.
If you notice these signs you need to take your mouse to your local Greencross Vets immediately.
What supplies do I need for my mouse?
Before getting started you will need:
- A good-sized cage
- A wheel or exercise toy
- A ladder or climbing furniture
- High-quality food
- A chew-proof food bowl
- A water dispenser
- Chew toys and treat sticks
- Mouse care guides
Visit your local Petbarn for loads of great products and advice to help keep your new pet mouse happy and healthy.