How Long do Pet Mice Live?

A mouse can become your little friend if you treat him right. You can teach him a few tricks, watch him play and you can also ensure that he has a good life and diet in general. It can be a lot of fun day by day, but how long does the fun last?

In this article, we are going to talk about how long do pet mice live and the things you can do to make their lives longer.

Lifespan of Pet Mice

The lifespan of a happy and healthy mouse is between one and two years on average. This is one of the shortest lifespans compared to other rodents.

Pretty much any other small pet that people like to keep at home lives longer. For example, hamsters, gerbils and most small rodents have a lifespan of up to three years.

It is important to note that mice live longer in captivity than out in the wild.

Lifespan of Wild Mice

The main reason why wild mice have shorter lives is that the life they live is much more dangerous. You can only imagine how many things they can face outside the safety of a cage.

There is the risk of poisoning, for example, as they are considered as pests in many cases.

There are also many animals that are out for the hunt for mice. Or they are simply unlucky when it comes to finding food. Because of these factors, they usually don’t live longer than 12 months.

If you put a wild rat into a cage, however, then it can live for as long as 5 years with proper care.

Longest Living Mouse

The longest living mouse was called Yoda and he lived for as long as 4 years and 12 days. This little guy was living under lab conditions where he lived twice as longer as the average pet mouse.

A normal mouse can’t live for that long but this one had a gene mutation that allowed him to do so.

The body of this mouse produced an extremely low amount of growth hormones. This is why he was significantly smaller than the typical mouse.

This so-called dwarf mouse lived a happy and healthy life without any drawbacks. Except for his hindered growth, of course.

How to Improve Pet Mouse Longevity?

First off, don’t overfeed your mouse. Keep the routine of giving him normal amounts of food twice a day. Overfeeding can result in high insulin levels and diabetes regardless of how much your mouse does exercise.

With a healthy amount of exercise and caloric restriction, you can maximize the lifespan of your little pet. Caloric restriction definitely plays a higher role here because it results in beneficial hormone levels.

– Mice Genetics

Scientists have found out that the lifespan of pet mice can be extended genetically. In an experiment, they managed to extend the telomeres of lab mice. Telomeres are responsible for aging in the chromosomes of mice and us humans too.

Every time a cell gets divided, the telomeres in it get shorter. Our cells are slowly wearing out as the telomeres fade away. Researchers basically cultivated stem cells and used them to breed mice.

These mice had longer telomeres, lived 24 percent longer and were more resistant against cancer.

Although this experiment didn’t include gene modification, they have found a way to protect the genes of these experimental rodents.

– Feeding Quality Food

It is important to buy nutritionally complete mouse food but don’t fall into the trap of buying the same cubes and pellets over and over again.

Mice find pleasure in playing and exercise but you shouldn’t forget that they love to eat. Providing them a boring diet is definitely not healthy in the long term.

Instead, feed them a mix of pellets, cubes, vegetables, bread and sugar-free cereals. You should focus on giving them protein-rich food. Besides, they should have access to fresh water all the time.

Don’t feed them chocolate or cheese, because these foods are toxic for fancy mice and they will die.

– Reduce Stress

In order to reduce stress, it is important to keep other pets away from the cage of your mouse. It can cause a lot of stress if they feel threatened all the time.

If they ever feel threatened or stressed, they need a hiding place where they feel secure and can calm down a bit.

It is crucial for the mouse to have this place that he can call his own. Also, don’t pick your mouse by its tail. Don’t pick him up at all until he gets accustomed to your presence. It can cause a great deal of stress.

– Health Conditions

You should frequently check your mouse for tumors because they are quite common. If you find swelling or a lump, then it is most likely a malignant tumor.

Fortunately, you can always take the little guy to the veterinarian for a routine surgical intervention.

The other common and serious health condition you should look out for is called the wet tail. This is caused by the development of harmful bacteria in the digestive system.

Since it is fatal, you should take your mouse to the vet once you notice sluggishness, lethargy, diarrhea or low appetite.

Male vs Female Mice – Which Live Longer?

There was a lifespan study where researchers observed 540 mice in total. Half of them were male, while the other half were female. They were all kept under ideal circumstances.

Their bedding, the room temperature, the lighting and their diet were all ideal throughout the study.

As they have found out, the average lifespan of male rats was around 680 days, while it was around 760 for females. Based on this, we can conclude that females live at least a quarter of a year longer.

Do Mice Live Longer if Kept Alone?

There is no evidence that living alone can directly affect the lifespan of mice. What we can say, however, is that you should rather keep a male mouse alone than a female one.

Females are definitely not happy to live a solitary life. The loneliness and depression caused by it can eventually result in health conditions.

When it comes to males, however, they can live a completely happy life alone in the cage. For them, it is enough to develop a strong bond with their best friend, which is always their owner.


With proper care, you can ensure that your pet mouse reaches the 2-year mark. Pet mouse care is certainly not rocket science. In fact, we can even recommend it for kids.

All these little rodents need is a clean and relaxed environment, a good diet, a running wheel for exercise, some toys and the attention of its owner.

It takes a little while until your mouse gets used to your presence but from then on, your time spent with him is going to be all fun and joy.

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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