Proper pet mouse care is simple, and the care of pet mice can be just as rewarding as owning any other animal. Mice are happy, playful and active little creatures that are great fun to watch.
Fancy mice can be very beautiful and they come in many different coat patterns and colors. Some mice are so well socialized that they will willfully accompany you as you watch television, and accept treats straight from your hand.
Baby mice are fully weaned at around four weeks old but they benefit a lot from staying with their litter mates for an additional week.The stress of leaving their mother, siblings and home all in one day can be a lot for a little mouse to cope with!
Ideally they should not leave the litter before five weeks of age. If you get them when they are too young they will be jumpy and difficult to socialize.
The most basic aspect of pet mouse care is picking a healthy individual in the first place. You should check a few things when purchasing a mouse. The eyes are bright
The eyes and nose should be free of discharge and the mouth and anal areas should be clean and dry. Their breathing will be relatively fast, but should not be laboured or noisy. Check the cage as well - it should be clean (showing that the mice have been well cared for) and the droppings should be solid, not runny.
Be sure to check thoroughly that you are getting mice of the same sex unless you are intending to breed. Mice can produce a large litter in just three weeks, so be careful if you're not planning on being overrun with babies! Pet mouse care can go from easy to difficult in a flash when exponential growth is a factor!
Always pick up a mouse by the base of its tail. The mouse's instinct is to try to escape if something closes round it, and if you clutch it to stop it from getting away, you may accidentally crush the little guy. A frightened mouse may use its teeth in self defense.
The most satisfactory box for a mouse is a wooden one. A wire cage such as pet shops supply is not suitable as offers little protection should a cat decide to come in the room to play.
Some people advocate plastic washing-up bowls fitted with a wire mesh lid although there is a tendency for condensation to form in cold weather. Mice can stand the cold very well provided they have enough bedding, but they do not thrive in drafty or damp conditions.
Ideally, aspen shavings should cover the bottom of the box, and the bedding (nesting material) can be soft paper towels.
NEVER use synthetic fiber as bedding. Mice can eat it, or get tangled up in it and die. Some kind of partition or removable nest box is a good idea, and it helps keep the mice fit as they climb over it.
Mice will eat almost anything, but their staple diet is oats. Most fanciers/breeders use oats as the bulk of their mixture with various other seeds in smaller quantities, such as wheat, maize, sunflower seed, hemp etc.
Every food has different nutritional properties. Some seeds are fattening, some give sheen to the coat, some promote fertility, and so on. Bread soaked in milk or soaked in water and then mixed with powdered milk, is another valuable food option.
Meat, fish, dog biscuits, bones, nuts, dry beard, cream crackers, root vegetables and breakfast cereals will all be accepted as treats.
Green foods tend to cause runny stools unless used very sparingly, but if you have hay for bedding, the mice will eat lot of it, and many swear by it for conditioning their stock.
It is essential to pet mouse care that you provide fresh, clean water in a suitable container.
Article Contributed By: Patrick King
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