Mice can be among the most charming of pets. They have the advantages of taking up little space, being inexpensive to feed and easy to handle. A pet mouse can live for up to two years if properly cared for. They are nocturnal by nature and will be most active in the middle of the night. Mice are small animals that are easily scared by sudden movements and loud noises, though they will become accustomed to being held if you always remember to be gentle and quiet around them. Two mice will keep each other company, but make quite sure they are not a male and female to avoid unwanted babies. Many people prefer to keep females as pets due to their less noticeable odor.
Until your mouse is used to being picked up try using a paper cup to scoop her up and release her onto your hand. Small children should be supervised when handling the mouse and reminded not squeeze too tightly! If you have other pets, watch them carefully when your mouse is out of the cage and never leave them alone in the same room. Accidents happen!
You will find several options for your new mouse’s home. If you choose a mouse cage, or bird cage, make sure the bars are no further than 1/4 inch apart. A 10 gallon glass aquarium (or larger) makes a good home provided there is ample ventilation, add a screen lid for safety! Look for a safe bedding such as Aspen shavings or Carefresh. Cedar can be hazardous to small pets and should be avoided. Your mouse is sure to appreciate a house and some toys such as a wheel, ladders, teeter-totters, swings and other climbing devices. Adding some hay in the house will make it easy for your mouse to build a warm and cozy nest. Water bottles are more practical than a dish and should be refilled with fresh water daily.
Mice eat quite a lot of food considering their small size. Check your mouse’s food bowl daily to be sure it has plenty of dry food. A packaged mouse diet that is high in husked oats and millet is ideal. In addition provide fresh food such as fruit and vegetables each day in a separate dish. Fresh, clean water should always be available.
Mice need to be cleaned at least twice a week to avoid odors. If the cage is left too long between cleanings, ammonia builds up inside the cage and will cause your mouse to have breathing problems. To clean the cage thoroughly scrub it down with a mild cleanser and rinse completely. Remember to clean your mouse’s water bottle, food dishes, toys and other accessories too. Dry everything well before returning your mouse to its home.
Mice are generally hardy creatures with few health problems, but if you suspect something is wrong do not hesitate to take your pet mouse to a veterinarian.
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