What are mice?
Mice are medium-sized rodents that have physical characteristics very typical of their species, such as large black eyes, 20 fingers. However, their thumbs are quite rudimentary, and one of their most remarkable characteristics, a long hairless tail, which, despite being one of the traits that cause most displeasure in people, is a vital for mice since it is their source of balance and also helps them with their temperature control.
These animals have nocturnal habits, and they begin to be more active during the afternoons and nights; during the day, they are not very active.
Can you have pet mice?
Mice are one of the most common genera of rodents. They are usually frowned upon in many settings. However, they can be very social, communicative, and even affectionate animals. In fact, nowadays, it is increasingly common to see these animals as pets thanks to their character and because they do not require much special care.
Being very sociable creatures, they feel best when they are in pairs or small groups. Female mice are usually more docile and hygienic than males, as well as more sociable. When you want to have a partner, it is best to find two males who are siblings and provide each with their own space to avoid fights. If a male and a female mix, they will spread at surprising speed.
It would be a better option to look for mice as young as possible to be able to accustom them to behaving domestically. For example, they are not animals that are easily held. However, if they are instilled from a young, they are more docile and will be held without so many difficulties. The life expectancy of mice that are kept domestically is around three years. However, with proper care, it can be up to 5 years.
Is it safe to have pet mice?
Yes, mice are very social animals, affectionate and not at all aggressive, especially if they are in a comfortable space where they receive adequate care. One of the most remarkable characteristics of their behavior is their curiosity, and they like to explore and be free in wide spaces where they can climb and run.
These little ones are not only curious, but they are also very intelligent and attentive, being able to learn numerous tricks if they are taught properly and their learning is positively reinforced.
What breed of mice can be kept as pets?
There are many species of mice, most of them differentiated by specific differences in their physiognomy.
The most common to keep as pets are:
As its name suggests, this is the most common to find, in nature and in the city, both as a pet and in the wild. This species has not undergone any genetic alteration, so they are the “purest” species.
These are smaller, have a softer coat, and their distinctive feature is that they lack a long tail but rather have a very short tail that is almost an extension of their spine.
It’s is one of the most popular types when it comes to keeping them as pets. However, you have to be careful with it, since thanks to its lack of fur, it does not have much resistance to cold and can be vulnerable to diseases.
As its name suggests, this little mouse has large, broad ears, are stocky, and are covered in short, fine, and smooth fur. They can be found in a wide range of colors, from white to brown.
However, mice with dark fur are more difficult to tame and socially fit in, although this does not mean that it is an impossible task.
Caring for pet mice
The size of the cage in which we keep our mouse must be proportional to the number of mice we acquire since it is best to provide each one with its own space. For a couple, a 12×24-inch cage will suffice. If we get one that has different levels or tunnels through which they can pass, it would be even better since they love to run around. It’s always good to find a way for them to exercise. Cage wheels are the best way to keep them fit and entertained.
It is good that we place the cage at the beginning in a place with high traffic, such as the living room, since that way they get used to the presence of humans and do not fear them. In turn, the bottom of the cage must have hay, pieces of paper, or Vitra, and we must change it periodically to keep it clean. Finally, mice need a kind of “house” inside their cage to sleep. We can buy one or make it out of wood or cardboard.
Mice are omnivorous animals. That is, they can eat vegetables and meat. However, it is important that they have a balanced diet, contrary to popular belief; mice cannot “eat everything.”
This is thanks to a flap that covers their esophagus; this prevents them from vomiting, which means that everything they consume will go to their digestive system.
Mice also have a very fast metabolism, which makes it necessary for them to always have food and water at their disposal. An important tip is to plan a diet with a veterinarian since mice, like many rodents, tend to be affected by obesity. As for water, a bottle with a drip system will be enough for them. Yes, we must always keep the water fresh.
Rats, unlike some rodents, must be bathed regularly. In fact, it is an activity that they like and relax, and it is best to bathe it once a month using a pH-neutral shampoo. When cleaning them, we must avoid wetting their ears and take good care that soap does not get into their eyes.
It is not good that we bathe it more than two times a month; there are even times that it will not be necessary since mice, like many rodents, tend to clean themselves several times a day, and bathing them repeatedly can make them sick.
How to handle pet mice?
Pet mice are very delicate and vulnerable animals, but this does not mean that we should avoid contact for fear of not damaging it, especially since they are very emotionally sensitive and require constant companionship, both human and other mice.
We have to make sure to be careful and be delicate when we handle it. We must interact with them in a subtle way, and if we have physical contact with them, we must be careful, especially near their ears, their eyes, and nose since they are very delicate in these areas of their body.
Despite being raised at home from a very young age, mice still have potential pathogenic bacteria and viruses inside them, such as salmonella and typhus, which can develop naturally depending on their environment or diet.
However, this mostly applies to mice found in the wild in urban environments, as they thrive and feed on spoiled food from the garbage. House mice are less likely to develop these types of diseases, especially if they are kept properly groomed and given proper veterinary care.