Mice make great pets and are friendly and easy to look after. One important factor to keep in mind is that they can smell especially the males, so it is important. Their average life span if kept in good clean conditions is approximately 2 years.
Handling your Pet
Your new mouse might be very nervous when you first get him home. This is due to the change of environment. The best way to deal with this is to talk to him and at first handle him as little as possible, as over handling at this stage causes stress, which can be fatal. When your mouse is used to his new home, you should begin to handle him, just for short periods of time each day. Talk gently to your mouse as you pick him up by cupping your hands gently around him and carefully scooping him up. By doing this he will soon learn to trust you, and allow you to handle him. Always be careful not to squeeze the mouse to tightly as they have very delicate bodies.
Housing your Pet
The housing should be large and give your mouse plenty of room to explore. Choose a cage or aquarium that is escape proof, easy to clean and spacious. Hamster cages should not be used, as the bars are too wide apart, and your mouse will squeeze through and escape. The base of the cage or tank should be covered with a layer of wood shavings to absorb all waste. The cage should then be placed out of draughts and direct sunlight. Small animal bedding should be placed in the sleeping quarters. A variety of toys and gnawing blocks should also be made available to keep your mouse entertained.
Mice are sociable animals and are happiest in either same sex pairs or groups. Males are territorial and will occasionally fight so care must be taken. The cage should be cleaned daily, and should be disinfected at least once a week with a suitable animal disinfectant.
Feeding your Pet
Hamster or rat mix should be given fresh each day in a feed bowl. A small amount of fresh fruit or vegetables may be given, though not too much as they can cause diarrhoea. Mouse chocolates or honey treats may be given occasionally. Fresh water should be available at all times.
With many diseases of mice, by the time that symptoms are apparent, it is too late for successful treatment so prompt veterinary treatment is essential if you suspect your mouse may be ill.
General signs of illness; are sudden changes in behaviour. For example mice, which are normally lively and playful, could become dull and lethargic or even aggressive.
Warning signs include; a hunched back, staggering gait, ruffled coat or any discharge from nostrils, eyes or anus.
Arthritis (mouse rheumatism); Symptoms include rapid weight loss and discharge from the eyes. Legs and feet will become swollen and movement is difficult. The source of infection is other infected animals – usually wild rodents.
Mouse pox; this is a viral disease. In the acute form, the only symptom may be a small scab or sore followed by sudden death. In the chronic state there is a break down of the skin and scab formations on the tail and feet. The source of infection is from the excreta of other infected animals coming into contact with abrasions on the feet or tail. Treatment consists of improved cage hygiene, following veterinary advice.