Mice and rats have been bred as family pets for many years. If you’re a big fan of your pet mouse, there are various mouse societies and shows that you can take your pet mouse and rat along to.
These friendly, delicate little creatures make wonderful companions. Often misunderstood as a pet that shouldn’t be living in your home, these cute little fur babies can show you lots of love. If you are thinking of owning a pet mouse or rat, then it’s worth doing your research first on how care for your pet mouse or rat.
Like with any domestic pet, you should buy or adopt from a reputable breeder.
When looking to bring one home you must check that they’re healthy and happy, this advice applies to all domestic pets.
Generally, a happy mouse or rat will not be timid and their eyes should shine bright and their fur should look clean and well nourished. You should look out for bald patches in their fur as this could be a sign that there are health issues unless they belong to a hairless breed.
Listed below are some helpful tips on what signs to look out for when looking for a healthy mouse or rat and ways in which to keep them happy and healthy.
Feeding your mouse or rat
It goes without saying that fresh water should be provided on a daily basis, you should always make sure that your pet mouse or rat has fresh clean water available all day. As mice are very tiny they can easily dehydrate. To prevent this, you should provide a drip bottle on the side of their cage. You can also provide a small bowl of water that will fit into their cage. During the warmer monitor you should monitor their water intake and top up when necessary.
Feeding your pet mouse is easy. To be on the safe side you can buy hamster food that covers all of its nutritional needs. Mice are very hungry creatures and they eat more than you would expect, so you must ensure that they have enough food for them on a daily basis. You can also provide them with carrot and apple as a healthy snack and this will help wear down their teeth and keep them clean.
How to care for your pet mouse or rat
To keep your furry little creatures happy, you will need to provide a secure home to store their food, drip-bottle, exercise wheel, bedding and a hiding hole in which they can rest in.
You must ensure that the cage in which they kept is well ventilated during the warmer months and insulated during the colder months. It’s worth investing in a thermometer to have in the cage so that you can monitor the temperature at all times.
Lack of ventilation will make your mouse unwell as the ammonia can build up, making your tiny pet sick.
If you’re unsure where to buy a cage that has a hiding hole build in, then you can look to purchase a little wooden house for their cage where they can retreat to for peace and quiet.
Shredded paper is the best bedding that you can provide your tiny one. Of course, it is better that the paper is not inked as this can cause a reaction to their skin. You should also provide paper towels or tissues that they can make nests with.
Providing exercise and entertainment
Mice love exercise wheels and could spend their entire day running endlessly till they're tired. Don’t underestimate the size of the wheel, mice love a big wheel so run in as it's far more stimulating and exciting. They need to be able to run without bending their back. It's best to choose a plastic wheel rather than a wire wheel as this is safer for them.
You should also look to provide toys for them to play with. You don’t need to spend a fortune. A small cardboard roll or tissue paper can keep them amused for hours.
They also love fruit wood which is normally given to parrots. This is very good for chewing and gives them lots of entertaining.
Mice and rats love to climb. You can hand a small piece of rope within their cage which they can scurry along on or hang from.
Ways to keep them clean
Your little critters are perfectly well adept at keeping themselves clean, although a healthy male mouse does have a particular pungent scent about them. To keep them clean you can clean them with tepid water and mild soap. This is if they’re very dirty, otherwise, you don’t need to wash them.
You should keep some of their bedding so that they have a familiar smell when they return back to their cage.
Maintaining their home environment
Mice and rats make fabulous pets for children but they should not be handled without supervision from an adult. It’s also important that they wash their hands before and after handling them as mice and rats can catch human colds from germs on your hands.
You must also ensure the safety of them as other household pets such as dogs, cats and snakes might seem them as food!
Their cage must be kept out of any form of draft and sunlight. Mice and rats can overheat or become too cold. You must provide adequate bedding during colder months and shelter within their cage so they can sleep and relax whilst being warm. If it's exceptionally hot you can provide ice cubes in their water bowl to cool them down.
Helpful tips on how to train
One of the first tasks you should teach your pet mouse or rat is getting them accustomed to her home environment and sitting directly on your hand. You should give them a few weeks to feel at ease and want to sit comfortably on your hands.
Before teaching them this task you must ensure they spend a few days in their cage and getting used their new environment. If you do need to pick them up in the interim you can use a cup made of paper for comfort.
You must repeat this process over and over again until they feel safe to climb onto your hand.
If you are looking to buy a pet rat or mouse please make sure to visit out Rat for Sale in the UK section.