Ideal housing for mice are either wire cages with plastic tray floors or terraria with secure wire lids. The cages or terraria should be approximately 30cm high x 60cm wide x 50cm deep for a pair.
The cage should be situated in a quiet, shaded location with good air circulation away from draughts and direct sources of heat.
Shredded paper or dust-extracted shavings provide ideal bedding and the cage should contain a wooden nesting box full of shredded paper for mice to sleep and hide in. The cage should be cleaned out at least once a week and more often for males.
A complete rodent food forms a good basis for a mouse’s diet providing all the nutrients in the correct amounts and proportions. A very occasional treat of sunflower seeds and vegetables and fruit such as carrots, apples and broccoli can also be given. Water must be accessible at all times and bottles are often easier to keep clean.
Regular exercise is important to keep mice fit and prevent boredom, which could lead to behavioural problems. Mice love climbing so fruit tree branches, ropes and cardboard tubes are ideal for cages.
Mice are quite skittish and are particularly hard to catch in their cages. They can be trained to be handled, however they often defecate and urinate, especially if they are nervous. It’s advisable to ensure that your hands are clean and dry before handling mice. When you remove a mouse from its cage, gently slide your hand under its body. Try not to hold a mouse to tightly as it may bite.
Mice are very socialable animals that love to groom and play. It’s advisable to keep pairs or groups of the same sex together to avoid unwanted babies, however males often fight if they’re reintroduced to the cage, even after a few hours. Mice shouldn’t be housed with other rodents as they may be killed.
Regular health checks
Your vet can carry out a ‘nose to tail’ MOT but you can play a role too by following the guidelines below to keep an eye on your mouse’s health, help him to stay in tip top condition and live a long and healthy life:
Look out for changes in your mouse’s food consumption, drinking and toilet habits. Does he have less energy or is he slower in getting up or jumping? Monitor your mouse’s faeces for colour and consistency
Rub your hands over your mouse’s body including his head, legs and feet to check for any lumps or bumps or anything stuck in his claws. Check your mouse’s coat quality and whether any dandruff or hair loss is evident. Is your mouse scratching, chewing or biting excessively?
Check your pet’s nose, eyes and ears for any abnormalities or discharge. Your mouse’s nose should be moist, the corners of his eyes should be free of discharge and his ears should be clean
Monitor your mouse’s body condition by running your hands over his ribs and backbone. If he is losing weight or is overweight, it’s advisable to take him to the vet