A domesticated mouse – also known as Mus musculus domesticus – can make a great pet for the right owner. It requires very little space, can be kept indoors and is inexpensive to feed. And once your little pal gets used to you, it will happily sit in your hand or explore wherever it happens be.
The key to a successful relationship with your mouse is in how you care for it.
Here are some tips to help you become a successful mouse owner:
1. Select appropriate housing
A glass terrarium with a wire top is typically the best choice of housing for a pet mouse. Use a bedding of prepared litter or wood shavings that do not come from trees that have a lot of resin (for example, pine or cedar). Corncob bedding also works well and can be purchased at a pet store.
Your “mouse house” should be in an area that is away from direct sunlight and drafts. You should also be prepared to clean the cage with hot water once a week and to change the bedding at least twice a week.
2. Provide a balanced diet
You can buy specially prepared mouse food at a pet store. Otherwise, you can feed your mouse a combination of all grains, fresh vegetables and ground dog biscuits. Make sure to provide a gravity-flow water bottle in the enclosure and to fill it with fresh water every day.
3. Buy chewable objects and exercise toys
A mouse’s teeth are adapted for gnawing and will continue to grow throughout its life. Don’t forget to put scraps of wood or chew toys into your “mouse house” to ensure your mouse has something it can use to wear down its teeth.
Since your mouse will spend most of its life in an enclosure, it will also need a few other accessories (such as an exercise wheel) to keep it healthy and properly stimulated. Most pet stores have toys especially designed for mice.
4. Handle with care
Mice are timid animals and may bite when frightened. When you first get your pet mouse, let your new pal get to know you in brief but frequent spurts. Grasp your mouse near the base of the tail and then transfer it to another surface. Use a gentle touch at all times.
While mice are generally hardy little creatures, they can get sick. Some of the signs your mouse is ill include:
• dull and ragged fur
• hair loss
• a swollen tail
• sores on any part of the body
• encrusted ears
• discharge from the eyes
At Austin Pet and Bird Clinic, we treat most domesticated pets including mice. When you need expert veterinary care for the pets you love, contact us!