Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Pet Mouse!
The Pet Mouse. Ahhh. I cannot say enough good things about mice. I love them and could write a book based on my experiences alone! The first thing that comes to mind is, “This is what started it all!” Because, really, the mouse is the rodent that marks the beginning of my complete fascination with animals. I got my first pet mouse when I was in 4th grade. I remember begging my parents to let me have one. They reluctantly said yes. Then one mouse turned into getting two mice so that the first one would not be lonely! And from there, two mice turned into a litter, and then a second litter, and then into a whole roomful of many small pets. I have fond memories with my pet mice from my childhood. As a matter of fact, the mouse pictured here is one of my mice that I had in high school! Her name was Dora.
Mice are great pets. They are great for young children as a first pet and great for older people who just want to have a small, easy to care for, companion. Mice are inexpensive and clean. They do not need a lot of room or a ton of attention. They are clean and don’t usually have much of an odor to them. They only live for 1-3 years and so do not require a life time commitment. They can become quite tame and handle-able if you wish.
Some background on mice. There are several different mouse types. These include house mice, field mice, harvest mice, and pet mice or fancy mice. They all have their own scientific names, with the Pet Mouse being Mus musculus domesticus. It is believed that house mice originally came from parts of Asia and from there began to spread throughout the world. Mice are very adaptable, making their spread easy and natural. In the 1800′s people began using the term “fancy mice” because of the rising popularity of exchanging colored mouse fur. The National Mouse Club was founded in England around 1900 by Walter Maxey. Over the years mice have been used for several purposes. They have been used for everything from religious rituals to being test subjects in studying disease. Today, they are even specially bred by mouse enthusiasts to come up with new coat and color combinations. Did you know that there are over 700 different color and coat varieties in mice?!
The care and feeding of mice is simple. Find or purchase a mouse cage (many different types are available) and line the bottom with wood shavings or other purchased litter preparations. You can provide them with a wheel for daily exercise and other decorations/hiding places if you wish. Change out the bedding at least once or twice a week and clean their food and water dishes out daily. The easiest way to feed your pet mouse is to simply provide them with a nutritionally balanced mouse food mix that can be found at a pet store. They will also appreciate occasional treats such as vegetables, seeds, cheese, or other prepared treats from a pet store. Provide them with sticks of wood as well, to help keep their constantly growing teeth trimmed. Mice are also very social and do well with companions. For this reason, you may want to consider having at least 2 mice in a cage to keep them from becoming lonely. Females usually do great together, but you may have to watch putting males together because they will often fight.
Mice are fairly healthy if taken care of properly. As long as they have clean and dry bedding, food and water, and are kept away from drafts, they don’t usually have too many health problems. Things to keep an eye out for include sneezing, not eating, lethargy, and diarrhea. If they have any of these or other concerning symptoms, check out this list of Mouse Ailments.
The Pet Mouse is a common and wonderful small pet. They are great first pets for children. For more information, Animal-World’s Pet Mouse page gives a thorough run-down of everything mouse related!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.