They are fun to watch, inexpensive, easy to care for and responsive to handling.
There are several types of cages available for housing small rodents, and some things you should consider before purchasing your cage are:
- Size – Adult mice require a minimum floor area of 37cms square, and a height of 12 1/2 cm.
- Shape – Round corner cages help to discourage chewing.
- Material – Durable plastic bottom with wire sides and tops, for good air circulation and easy cleaning.
As a rule of thumb, the cage and accessories should be cleaned at least once a week.
Good quality food and clean fresh water are both a must at all times. A good quality commercial diet of pellets or blocks should be their main diet. Seed diets are also available but should only be used as a supplement to the basic rodent pellet, as a treat item. Rodents prefer sunflower-based seed diets to pellets, BUT these seeds are low in calcium and high in fat and cholesterol. High seed diets can lead to obesity and nutritional deficiencies. Other foods that can be used as treats are:
- Plant matter
Care should be taken to change food once a day, and this is also a good time to wash the seed bowl out. Remember most food is consumed at night.
Water bottles with sipper tubes should be provided to keep water from contamination. Position is important; water must be low enough for the mice to reach it.
When handling, the best way is to scoop mice up in your hands and cup your hands together. You can also pick up mice by their tails – carefully. Remember not to disturb them while sleeping; they may bite when startled.