Pet Mouse Care – How to Care for Fancy Mice?

If you are looking for a little pet that is entertaining and cute at the same time, then it’s a great idea to buy a pet mouse. Although they are a bit skittish and hard to handle, it can be a lot of fun to train them and to watch how they play. You can keep a pet mouse either in an aquarium or in a cage.

In addition, they don’t need as much attention as many other pets that can be kept at home. You can go to work and take care of your other obligations while not stressing much about how your mouse is doing. Pet mice are absolutely recommended for beginners and are ideal for kids as well.

What to Consider Before Getting a Pet Mouse

Before bringing home a new pet mouse, there are some important things to consider. Here are a few key factors to keep in mind:

1. Space Requirements

Pet mice are small animals, but they still need a decent amount of space to live comfortably. A cage that is at least 20 gallons in size is recommended for two to three mice. For every additional mouse, increase the cage size by 10 gallons. Additionally, the cage should be secure, well-ventilated, and escape-proof.

2. Social Needs

Mice are social creatures and thrive on companionship. They are happiest when kept with other mice of the same gender. It’s important to keep in mind that male mice can become aggressive toward one another, so it’s best to keep them separate.

3. Lifespan

Pet mice have a relatively short lifespan, typically living for 1-3 years. However, during this time, they require proper care and attention to ensure they live happy and healthy life.

4. Time Commitment

Owning mice requires a time commitment. You will need to spend time cleaning their cage, providing fresh food and water, and playing with them. If you’re not able to dedicate the time to care for your mice properly, they may not thrive.

Now that we’ve covered some basics, let’s dive into the details of caring for your new pet mice.

Choosing a Pet Mouse

At the pet store, make sure to check out at least a few mice before you choose the one you want to bring home. Check the ears and tail of each mouse. Healthy ones have clean, pink skin. Other good signs are a smooth and clean coat, energetic behavior and a nice, clean nose.

Since mice need to be held in clean environments, don’t forget to check the cage they live in. It should be a neatly set up and well-maintained cage. This is another indicator that the mouse is as healthy as possible.

A good mouse breeder is aware that mice should be separated based on gender. Their breeding period starts when they reach 6 to 8 weeks of age. The reason why this is important is that this can be a really stressful period for the female. Exposing them to that much stress can easily cause health problems.

Types of Mice to Keep as Pets

Here is a list of mice types you can keep as pets:

  • Fancy Mouse: Also known as domesticated mice, fancy mice are the most common species kept as pets. They come in a variety of colors and coat patterns and are known for their friendly and social nature.
  • African Pygmy Mouse: These tiny mice are native to parts of Africa and make great pets for experienced mouse owners. They are social creatures and should be kept in same-sex pairs.
  • Deer Mouse: These cute and curious mice are native to North America and make great pets for those who are looking for a more active and playful pet. They require a large cage and plenty of toys to keep them entertained.
  • White-Footed Mouse: These adorable mice are native to North America and are known for their soft, white feet. They are social creatures and should be kept in same-sex pairs.
  • Field Mouse: Field mice are a common wild mouse species that can be kept as pets. They require a large cage and plenty of hiding places, as they are known for their love of burrowing.

Housing Your Pet Mice

Mice are good at finding a way to get out. Therefore, you need to look for an aquarium or cage that guarantees that he doesn’t get out. For a single mouse, it is recommended to buy a 10-gallon aquarium. If you want to buy a cage, however, just make sure that the wires are placed at least a quarter of an inch from each other.

Cage Setup

When setting up your mouse’s cage, provide plenty of bedding material, such as paper-based bedding or aspen shavings. Avoid using cedar or pine shavings as they can be harmful to mice. Additionally, provide hiding places, toys, and exercise wheels to keep your mice active and stimulated.

In that case, you should look for at least a 24″ x 12″ cage, preferably a covered one. The next thing you need is a food bowl. This should be something that you can easily wash over and over again without damaging it. Look for a dish that is hard to flip over since mice tend to kick them over.

You also need an attachable water bottle to keep your mouse hydrated. In pet stores, they usually sell water bottles that are specifically made for mice or hamsters. Since mice are energetic and playful, they need something to play with. You can find plenty of toys in the store that will keep them entertained.

If you can find a toilet paper tube or something like that in your house then you might not even need to buy those toys. It is also important to give them something like cardboard or wood to chew on.

Mice find sleeping on dust-free pellets or poplar, aspen, birch or maple shavings are comfortable. You can put any of these into the cage. Cob litter or cedar shavings should be avoided.

Keep your mouse active by installing a running wheel in the cage. Since mice love to run, it is going to be one of his main toys. And the last thing you need is some decoration or container that your mouse can use as a hiding spot. Mice feel safe if they know that there is a place where they can hide.

Cage Placement

Place your mouse’s cage in a draft-free location, away from direct sunlight and other pets. Mice are sensitive to temperature changes, so keep the cage in a location that is consistently between 65-75°F.

Cleaning Your Mouse’s Cage

In order to keep the cage clean, you should clean up all the spilled water, solid waste and wet urine every day. The water and food containers both should be washed before refilling. Since those easily get contaminated, it is important to remove and rinse them with mild soap daily.

These are the everyday routines. When it comes to the complete cage, it needs to be cleaned weekly. The first step is to find another place for the mouse while you clean it. This can be an aquarium, a box or even a tall bucket. Just make sure it’s something that doesn’t get tipped over easily.

The second step is to take all the toys and bedding out of the cage. These need to be cleaned separately. Then, take any soapy solution, mix it with a lot of water and wash the whole cage thoroughly. Once you are done, you can continue with the toys and accessories.

You can wash everything except toys that are made of porous material. It is enough to use a brush for those. After you are done washing the last little thing, you need to wait a bit until everything dries. You definitely don’t want to put stuff in while they are wet.

When the accessories, the bedding, and the cage is completely dry, you can set it all up again. Add food and clean water to the containers and let the little mouse in.

Feeding and Watering Your Mouse

The most straightforward way to feed your mouse is to go to the pet store and buy some mouse food. You should look for pellets and cubes that are made explicitly for them. If your mouse doesn’t eat all of them throughout the day, then make sure not to leave the leftover food there the next day.

Pet Mice Diet

Mice require a diet that is high in fiber and protein. Provide a commercial mouse food, which is nutritionally complete, as the main portion of their diet. Additionally, offer fresh vegetables, fruits, and seeds as treats.

You can also slice up some vegetables or fruits every now and then. If you have some broccoli, berries, cabbage, apples, tomatoes, carrots, bananas or pears at home then you can give those to your pet. Besides giving them food, their water bowl should be filled with fresh water at least twice a day.

Mice can distinguish between regular foods and treats. Some common treats for them are sugar-free cereal, pieces of pastry, or cooked pasta. However, you can always go to the pet store and buy some treats specifically made for mice.

Commercial Mouse Food

The majority of your pet mouse’s diet should consist of high-quality commercial mouse food, which is formulated to provide all of the necessary nutrients for your pet mouse. Look for a commercial mouse food that is specifically designed for mice and has a good balance of protein and fiber. Commercial mouse food should be offered as the main part of your mouse’s diet, with fresh food and seeds offered as treats.

Fresh Foods

Fresh fruits and vegetables can be offered as treats to supplement your pet mouse’s diet. Fruits such as apples, bananas, and berries are good choices. Vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, and dark leafy greens are also good options. However, it’s important to remember that these should only be given in small amounts to avoid upsetting your mouse’s digestive system.

Seeds and Nuts

Seeds and nuts can also be offered as treats to supplement your pet mouse’s diet. Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and almonds are all good choices. However, it’s important to remember that these should only be given in small amounts as they are high in fat and can lead to obesity.

Water for Pet Mice

As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to provide your pet mice with a constant supply of fresh, clean water. Dehydration can lead to serious health problems, so make sure your mice always have access to fresh water.

Portion Control

Portion control is important when feeding your pet mice. Provide a small amount of food each day, and monitor how much your mice are eating. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health problems, so it’s important to provide the correct amount of food for your pet mice.


Water is essential to a healthy diet for pet mice, as it helps to keep them hydrated and maintain their bodily functions. Providing clean and fresh water is crucial to your pet’s overall health and well-being. Here are some additional details on how to properly provide water to your pet mice:

Water Bowl vs Bottle

There are two common ways to provide water for pet mice: using a water bowl or a bottle. Water bowls are a great option for mice who prefer to drink from a dish. However, it’s important to note that water bowls can become contaminated quickly and require more frequent cleaning to ensure that the water is fresh and clean.

Bottles are another option for providing water to your pet mice. They are a convenient way to provide a constant supply of clean water to your mice. However, it’s important to monitor the bottle to ensure that it is not clogged, and the water is flowing properly.

Changing Water

Regardless of the method you choose to provide water, it’s essential to change the water frequently to ensure it is fresh and clean. It’s recommended to change the water in a water bowl daily and to clean the bowl weekly. Bottles also need to be checked daily, and any blockages should be removed to ensure a steady supply of water.

Water Quality

The quality of the water is important for the health of your pet mice. It’s recommended to use filtered or distilled water instead of tap water. Additionally, avoid using mineral or vitamin supplements in your mouse’s water as they can disrupt the balance of nutrients in their diet.


Mice are active creatures and require water to stay hydrated. It’s important to provide your pet mice with a constant supply of water to prevent dehydration. Signs of dehydration in mice can include lethargy, dry skin, and sunken eyes. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to provide your mice with fresh water immediately and monitor their hydration levels.

Health and Wellness

To ensure your pet mice are healthy and happy, it’s important to keep an eye on their overall well-being. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Signs of Illness

Mice are prone to certain health issues such as respiratory infections, mites, and tumors. It’s important to monitor your mice for any signs of illness such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or labored breathing. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s best to take your mouse to a veterinarian who is experienced in treating small animals.

Regular Check-Ups

Regular check-ups with a veterinarian can help catch any health problems early on. It’s recommended that you take your mice to a veterinarian who specializes in small animals for a check-up at least once a year.


Mice groom themselves regularly, but you can help them out by providing a dust bath. Fill a shallow dish with chinchilla dust and place it in the cage once a week. Your mice will enjoy rolling around in the dust and it will help keep their coat clean and shiny.

Socialization and Enrichment

Mice are social creatures and enjoy interacting with their owners. Here are some tips for socializing and providing enrichment for your mice:


Handle your mice gently and regularly to get them used to be held. Start by offering your hand in the cage for your mice to sniff and climb onto. Once they are comfortable with this, you can start picking them up and holding them.

Toys and Enrichment

Provide plenty of toys and opportunities for your mice to play and explore. Mice love to climb, so providing things like ropes, ladders, and platforms can be a fun way for them to exercise and explore their environment.

Keeping Your Mouse Happy and Healthy

Monitor the behavior of your mouse. There are no specific signs to look out for but if you notice that your mouse is acting differently than before, it is probably because something is wrong. So, how to make sure that this doesn’t happen?

First off, your mouse should have a healthy and regular diet. Freshwater, enough nutrients, and vitamins are essential. If the drinking and eating habits of your mouse change for a significant amount of time, then it is better to contact a veterinarian.

When you are cleaning the cage, pick up your mouse and gently examine its body. There shouldn’t be any bumps or lumps on its skin. It is also a great opportunity to put your mouse on a scale and check its weight. You can use a food scale for it. More than 5 percent weight loss or gain indicates that there might be a problem.

Play with your mouse daily to ensure that he gets enough exercise. Or you can simply put a few toys in and let him use them. If there is a running wheel in the cage, let’s say, and your mouse stops using it, then it is time for a checkup.


In conclusion, caring for pet mice requires attention and care, but it can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. By providing your mice with a comfortable and safe living environment, a healthy diet, and regular socialization and enrichment, you can help ensure that they live happy and healthy life.

Remember to monitor their health and well-being, and take them to a veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness. We hope this guide has been helpful in preparing you for the joys and responsibilities of owning pet mice.

avatar Jane
Jane is an experienced animal care specialist with a focus on rodents and small mammals, with over 10 years of experience in the pet industry. Her articles provide practical guidance on choosing the right pet and managing common health issues. Jane is an advocate for animal welfare and supports organizations dedicated to protecting wildlife. read more...

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