Make mice good pets

  • The mouse is not a loner and should not be kept alone.
  • Colored mice and gerbils are particularly popular as pets.
  • The nocturnal little ones need a lot of space and a varied interior.

The mouse has followed humans for thousands of years: we reliably supply them with food through our lifestyle. As a wild animal, it is mostly considered a pest, but the clever little rodents are now also often kept as pets.

We explain here which types of mice are particularly suitable as pets and what you need to consider for keeping them.

Interesting advice on keeping mice

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1. Two types of mice are particularly popular as pets

There are several different types of mice that you keep as pets can. These include, for example, the European harvest mouse, which usually moves a few centimeters above the ground from blade of grass to blade of grass, spiny mice or multi-teat mice. However, none of them are suitable for children and certainly not “entry-level animals”. At the The most common pets are the color mouse and the gerbil.

1.1. The color mouse comes directly from the house mouse

A color mouse can have many different coat colors.

The Color mouse is bred as a direct descendant of the house mouse as a pet been; it belongs to the subfamily of the long-tailed mouse. It is a small type of mouse with a body about seven to eleven centimeters and a tail about seven to ten centimeters long.

The animals weigh around 45 to 60 grams and have a life expectancy of around two to three years. The color mouse lives up to its name: It is available in white and black, gray and brown, but also spotted or multi-colored.

1.2. The Mongolian gerbil is particularly active

The Mongolian gerbil smells less strongly than other mice and is very popular.

The Gerbil, originally native to Mongolia and parts of China, has long since conquered many German living rooms and children's rooms: the mouse, with its ten to 14 centimeters body and 10 to 12 centimeters tail length, appears stronger than the colored mouse. They weigh 70 to 110 grams and live to be around three to four years old.

Because they have a less strong odor than color mice, they have become very popular as pets. Originally they had a brown fur with a light belly, but now they are also bred in many colors. With their hairy tails, they are almost reminiscent of little squirrels.

Danger: Irresponsible people repeatedly carry out so-called “torture breeding” - that is, breeding processes in which the wrong genes are combined in order to achieve a mostly visually appealing effect. Do not support this and refrain from buying angora or longhair mice, dance mice, curly mice, nude or Manx mice and “red mice”.

2. There are many things to consider when it comes to posture

In order to keep a domesticated animal in the house, there are a few things to keep in mind. The The mouse's daily rhythm differs from that of humansand she doesn't like being alone. She also needs variety and exercise.

2.1. Mice are nocturnal

Mice and hibernation

Mice do not hibernate. But if they run out of food, they can freeze and save so much energy until it gets warm again. This is how they survive long winters.

Even if it's a bit of a shame, especially for children: Mice only really wake up at dusk and dig, run and gnaw, especially at night. During the day they come out from time to time, but that is no comparison to the night when they are completely in their element. It doesn't go without any noises either, because they move around a lot during this time. So the bedroom is not necessarily the right place for the cage.

2.2. Mice need conspecifics

Mouse and rat

The rat and mouse do not go together at all as pets. The two rodents are fundamentally different and cannot communicate. In addition, the rat is very likely to kill and eat the mouse.

Colored as well as gerbils are reluctant to be alone. It is claimed, that a mouse held alone becomes trusting more quickly - that's not true, it just becomes unhappy. She needs someone to communicate with, romp, cuddle and groom with.

Ideally, you buy for it two females: they get along best with each other. Two males can consider each other as rivals and fight. It will be especially with gerbils It is critical to keep three animals together as they can fight for rank and fightswhich in the worst case can be fatal.

Danger:Don't hold males and females together! You cannot control their reproduction: mice can litter up to eight times a year and have three to eight, in rare cases even 14 young. Every initially helpless baby is sexually mature after six weeks and can provide for even more offspring.

2.3. Mice have to be challenged

As soon as you find your pets gnawing at the cage bars, you know they are bored. A mouse must be able to move: In the garden or in the forest, she sneaks and sprints, climbs, digs and hides. In the cage, too, she has to train her muscles and instincts. You can do her for that Put toys in the cage to keep them as appropriate to the species as possible, about

Be careful when you run out: mice nibble on everything, including electrical cables.

  • an impeller
  • bridges
  • Rock
  • Branches
  • Tubes
  • Ropes

The gerbil is also particularly happy about a bowl of chinchilla sand. Every now and then the mice also need exercise. To do this, you should close all windows and (closet) doors, Secure the sockets and ideally plug up all cracks and hiding spots.

Mice like to play with “their” people if they trust them, but they prefer to hide in places that cannot be reached. Keep a close eye on the small rodent during the run-out phase, so that it doesn't nibble on an electric cable, for example.

Tip: If you are looking for a wheel for your mouse, don't choose a wheel that is too small: all wheels with a diameter of less than 25 centimeters are unsuitable. In them the mouse has to flex its spine in an unnatural way.

3. The cage must be set up carefully

If you want to keep two mice, you should already buy a cage that is at least 80 by 40 by 40 centimeters. The bigger the better - because the more space the animals have, the more they can let off steam and the more comfortable they feel. The bars should not be more than eight millimeters apart, because mice are amazingly good at squeezing through the narrowest cracks.

Set up the cage at about chest to eye level and choose a location far away from the heater and without direct sunlight: Mice cannot sweat and do not tolerate heat well. Again, there are several important points to consider when setting up the cage.

3.1. Every mouse needs this basic equipment

The mice like to retire to sleep in their little house.

Give your mice a house to sleep in. It should not be visible from the outside, so that you feel safe and unobserved. Donate them kitchen paper, handkerchiefs or hay with which they can comfortably equip the sleeping house. You also need a food bowl for the animals and a trough, which you clip to the cage bars - the animals accidentally dig a water bowl up within a very short time when they dig in the litter.

3.2. Imaginative furnishing makes the mouse happy

Put litter on the ground so the mice can dig in it. In the case of gerbils, the layer should be up to 20 centimeters high in places. If the cage is high enough, you can also pull an intermediate floor through part of it - this is how you create another large area with space to climb, run and hide. Branches of non-toxic trees (pear, apple) are well suited for climbing and nibbling, and the above toys keep the little rodents busy.

Danger:Plastic has no place in a mouse cage! Since the animals nibble on everything, they can swallow plastic particles and become seriously ill. Accessories made of wood, clay, ceramic or cork are much more suitable.

Some advisors write as a tip that you can keep mice in an old aquarium. But that is not without its problems because the air down here quickly gets very bad: Ventilation takes place only through the grille, which acts as a lid. On the other hand, the stale air with the ammonia odor of mouse urine accumulates just above the floor.

It is therefore advisable to only use aquariums that are no taller than 35 centimeters. Again, there is no space for an intermediate floor. In any case, cages specially designed for mice are more suitable.

4. Mouse food is varied

In the free nature mice mainly eat grass and grain. The food from the specialist trade takes this into account: It contains grains and kernels. Even a nut tastes good to the rodent from time to time. Feed them in addition, something from the so-called juice feed every day, so

Grains are a staple food for mice.

  • fruit
  • vegetables
  • salad
  • dandelion
  • Grasses

You should also provide the rodents with animal protein about once a week. This can be chicken, a piece of boiled egg white, some quark or a chunk of dry cat food. Also make sure that that the mice always have enough to drink.

5. Care of the cage is essential

Most mice choose a specific corner where they leave urine and mouse feces. You should carefully clean this corner once a week. Once a month you can remove most of the litter and replace it with fresh ones. However, this is also the moment when the mice run from one corner to the other and re-mark their territory with their characteristic smell. It is also important to care that you Look into the sleeping quarters every day and remove the remains of the juice feed if necessary: They spoil quickly and start to stink.

6. When buying, there are various things to consider

Even if the cage is well equipped, a mouse is still one of the cheaper pets.

If you want to buy a mouse, you can buy it in a pet shop for around ten euros. Before doing this, familiarize yourself with the types and find out which one will suit you best. Get same-sex animals that already know each other and that are not pregnant.

The acquisition costs for the cage and accessories are manageable: You can get by here with around 75 to 120 euros. You can estimate another 15 euros per month for the feed and the necessary litter. So mice are relatively cheap pets.

7. With the mousetrap against uninvited rodents

You can purchase a mouse that you would like to keep as a pet from specialist retailers. Even if you could catch a small rodent in your garden with the live trap, it is still a wild animal that you cannot keep in a species-appropriate manner. You are also not allowed to catch the food mouse, which you may need for your snakes, yourself.

If you have problems with mice in the house or in the basement, you can set up a mousetrap. Contrary to popular belief, bacon and cheese are not particularly suitable as bait. A little chocolate or nut nougat cream, on the other hand, reliably attracts the animals.

Tip: If you want to drive mice out of a certain part of your house or garden without setting up traps, you should deprive them of their previous sources of food - for example, do not store kitchen waste in such a way that the animals can reach them. Rags soaked in essential oils or the smell of turpentine are also intended to encourage the rodents to move.

8. Interesting guides on keeping mice

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Photo credits: pit24 / Adobe Stock, Ervin Monn / Adobe Stock, P.R./Adobe Stock, torook / Adobe Stock, Catherine Reber / Adobe Stock, Rob / Adobe Stock, atzebadekappe / Adobe Stock (sorted by order in the article)