There are many things you need to know and prepare before you obtain mice.
Is mice the right pet for you?
Before you deside to keep mice as pets, it´s appropriate that you meet a few mice in real life. Handle them and get to know them as animals, to be sure that mice is the right pet for you.
It´s advisable to check that neither you or someone in your family has allergi towards mice or other animals. Allergy can be insidious and eventually become worse. Try to find out if there is any allergies towards mice in the family, before you obtain mice.
Where to find mice for sale
Mice are available in almost every pet store and on the Internet you will find mice frequently advertised on boards, forums, communitys, Mouse clubs Ad pages and so on. You will also find mice for sale on Animal Event like Mouse Clubs Shows and meetings. And of course you can contact a Mouse Breeder by email or phone and obtain your mice directly from her/him.
Mouse Clubs have list of Breeders and you can select one living in your area or having a special variety you like.
If you want a special variant, be sure that the mouse is healthy, has a good behavior and has a well documented pedigree, you can turn to a breeder in a Mouse Club or a private person whom can sell you mice that are specially bred for companionship.
If you buy mice by a private person or a member in a Mouse Club you often get a good introduction to owning a mouse, advice and answers to the questions you may have. Moreover, you get to meet relatives, mother and father, the mice you buy and see how a skilled mouse owner manage their mice.
Before you bring home your new pet, you should have
- an escape-proof transportation box to bring home the mice with
- a cage where the mice will live
- appropriate bedding / bottom material to the cage
- food bowl and water bottle
- houses and bed material to the house
- furnishings and toys to climb, jump and run on
- a good dry food mix
The mice will gnaw their way out of a small cardboard box, so it's very convenient to have a proper travel cage. Transport cage is placed in a purse or bag, so that the mice are protected on the way home. If it´s cold weather, you need to protect the mice from gettning cold by putting paper and nest into the transport cage and wrap the cage towel or blanket.
Suitable transport cages are available in Pet supply stores, or you can make one yourself from a plastic box and put net on or make lots of air holes in the lid.
Read more about travelling cage here (link will come)
The mouse housing must be as large as possible when the mice have a strong need to move. According to the Swedish Board of Agriculture's provisions apply to these measures
- minimum surface: 0.09 sq.m.
- minimum area per animal in group housing: 0,018 sq.m.
- minimum area per queen and litter in group housing: 0.0275 sq.m.
- the minimum dimensions of the shortest side: 0.2 m
- minimum height: 0.2 m
Now these dimensions are the smallest allowed in Sweden and are in fact not big enough. If you can give the mice a really big cage, you should do it.
The cage may be a grid cage, a terrarium, aquarium or special cage like duna, safari or why not a homemade cage. As for the aquarium, remember that mice happily pawing away the Silicon, so if you later on would like to have fish in the tank you need to fill with the new silicon. As a lid to the aquarium, you can build a wooden frame and put small checked networks on.
Clean the cage about 1 once a week, depending on its size and how many mice living in it.
Scrub the entire cage clean and wash all the accessories at least once a month. Preferably you carrie the whole cage into the bathroom and flush it. If you have a large and heavy aquarium or terrarium, wash it in place.
Place the mice housing at a draft-free place where they it´s not exposed to direct sunlight, excessive heat, cold or rapid temperature changes.
A dear member of the Swedish Mouse Community mus-ifokus , Stephanie, made a Cage Calculator after the Swedish minimum requirements for a cage. Now the Calculator is in Swedish, but if you use Google Translator when you visit the site it should be understandable. The Calculator is to be found here: LINK - Thanks, Staffi!
On the cage floor you need to have bedding. There are many different types and brands of bedding today. Beddings can be made by wood, paper, hemp, corn and so on. Be sure to chose a material that absorbs urine and prevents ammonia from establishing. Some really good bedding is aspen chips, aspen wafers and paper pellet.
Once a week, replace the base material with new.
Food bowl and water bottle
Give your mouse a large bowl and make sure that it is always full of dry food mixture. The dish should be of glass or ceramic.
Water bottle with fresh water should always be available. Periodically check that it works correctly, and that it´s not hung up, and clean it carefully. Do not choose the smallest bottle of water if you have multiple mice.
Nest and nesting material
Mice need a nest to sleep in because they need high humidity. In a cozy nook they will get the right humidity - while they are sleeping the exhaled air moist will stay in the nest and give them the right humidity.
A house can be a recycled heat candle holder or a small carton. Suitable nesting materials are shredded paper.
Bedding and plaiting materials can also be hay, straw and other papers. Make sure that the hay and straw are free from infections and parasites by storing it at least 28 days in a cool place where no live animals visit.
Decorate the cage according to your imagination, wallet and cage opportunities. Empty cardboard boxes, empty toilet rolls, branches, cans and old toys that no child will play with again such as My Little Pony Castle.
Exercise Wheel is not necessary if the mouse has a large cage with plenty of rock climbing, jumping and running ability. It is better for the mouse's body to move freely than running in an exercise wheel. However, mice likes running in the wheel every now and then, they have very great need to exercise, and it is recommended that you give them a such a large wheels as possible. We are talking at least 20 centimeters in diameter!
Toys and furnishing made of plastic, soft plastic, wood, cardboard and paperboard has a limited lifespan in a mouse cage so choose more sustainable materials if you do not think it's fun to "furnish" the mouse's cage often.
Mice need access to fresh food all day. The absolutely best is if you can make the dry mixture yourself with ingredients from a regular grocery store.This way you can be sure that the food you give your mouse is fresh and keeps high nutritional value and does not include things you don´t want or even know what it is, or even things that mouse does not eat or get sick of.
In addition to the dry mixture mice need fresh food. Fresh foodsuch as vegetables, fruit, meat and fish. Mice are omnivorous and therefore served meat or fish 2-3 times a week. Various vegetables can give every day but be sure to pick out the leftovers the day after this otherwise can lie and get moldy. Read more about Feeding here.
One mouse or more?
Mice are herd animals, and to the extent possible, they should therefore live in groups. The exception is males who are not always able to live together peacefully.
If you only want one single mouse, you should select a male (who can not live with other males) and if you want you to have multiple mice you should select females.
Read more about the mouse, you should choose
Choose with your heart!
When you obtain an intelligent little creature as a mouse, you should choose individual with your heart. If you buy a mouse only because it is sweet, chances are that you will be disappointed.
Since it's an animal, you will have the company of about 2 years, you should not only choose the mouse for appearance. There should also be love, contact and a feeling. Both you and the mouse shall thrive together.
Select a Healthy mouse
In addition to selecting an individual that you enjoy and feel comfortable with, it should be healthy and prosperous. Buying a sick mouse as the first mouse is never a good introduction.
How do you see that a mouse is healthy and prosperous?
- have appetite
- be curious and contact applicants
- have clear open eyes without secretions
- be silent and not to sneeze or pipe
- have firm stools
- have blank (except for the curly versions), dense and clean fur
- have no cuts or flaws
- be clean, pink skin without scabs, dandruff or other debris
- not bitten
Choose to buy your first mice from same location/breeder, so that they share the same bacterial flora. When you want to expand your mouse stock you should before you introduce the new with the old ones, keep them separated for at least 6 weeks to prevent them from getting into infections. Learn more about how you take care of mice.
Checklist when to buy mice
- Control the mouse/mice health properly - Never buy an animal that does not look totally healthy!!!
- Only carry the mice in your hands and not on clothes etc to avoid contamination
- Wash your hands
- Bring a travelling cage to safely carry home the mouse/mice
- Ensure that females older than 4 weeks are not living with males
- Have a cage with food, prepared at home
- Acquire phone number to mouse knowledgeable person or veterinarian
- Let new mice sit secluded (quarantine) at least 40 days before they are put together with your other mice to avoid getting any infection
Check your mice for Health
- check that the butt is great, clean and fresh
- check that the eyes are bright, clean and full of life
- check that the nose is pink, healthy and without any sound, sneezing or liquid
- check that the ears are clean, white / pink and thin
- check that the teeth grow straight and "meet each other"
- check that the skin and coat are clean and free of cuts, bumps and vermin
- check that the hull and fitness is good, no sound will come from the lungs or windpipe
- check that the paws and tail are intact and free from wounds
Text: Gerodean "Grodan" Elleby
(Links to other Articles to read more will come!)