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Pet Mice

Last Updated: 2/20/17

Regina, Butterscotch, and Dottie (left to right) on 11/17/15.

My Mice

General Care and Maintenance

General Information
How many and what sex should I get?
Cages and Supplies
Feeding
Health

Books

Catalogs and Web Sites

Mice Photos and Videos


My Mice

On 10/28/14, the last of my six-spotted roaches died in my 20 gallon long tank. My mother had a mouse before I was born and talked about how much she loved him. He was so cute and smart. I decided to convert my tank in to Micetopia for three or four little girl mousies.

I went to Petco on 11/12/14, and all that they had in the tank was one black mouse, a bunch of white mice with pink eyes, and a bunch of natural/brown/agouti mice. I asked someone if they ever got other kinds, and the girl told me that they had a white and black long-haired mouse in the back who had attacked the other mice according to someone else (which she did not believe to be true). Well, I had to see this mouse. So, she is all black and her hair is barely longer than the regular short-haired mouse but I decided to get her anyway because it is apparently hard to get fancy mice! I did not want to get just one mouse so I picked out one of the brown ones. The black one is named Regina after the wicked witch in "Once Upon a Time" who is really not all bad, mostly misunderstood. The brown one is Emma, after the savior on the same show.

I put Regina and Emma in the 20 gallon tank when I got home. They ran around and then slept separately the first day but then were together ever since. Regina has not hurt Emma. They get along fine. Emma is more personable which goes to show that you pick out an animal based on looks and fall for the personality. She seems to like for me to pet her when she is exploring. Regina is more skittish.

I contacted a few fancy mice breeders and only one responded who was not able to currently help in acquiring a few more female fancy mice. So, I will just check Petco every once in a while until maybe someone comes along. Otherwise, I have my two girls, and they seem content. Their waste is a bit smellier than I expected for such tiny animals. They also are chewing on things less than I expected, and I have yet (in two days) to see them use the running wheel or "flying saucer." But, they eat and drink and sleep and the rest so that is enough for now.

So, after a few days, it seems clear that Regina and Emma will just hide and sleep all day and then have fun while I am asleep so I cannot enjoy with them. I would have preferred to see more of them but they are very happy. How can I tell? Well, they made a mess of their stuffing and made a nice nest, and they are eating a lot of food.

I plan to install a two level "high rise" in their tank as soon as I have time to build it. I plan to use copper wire to tie coroplast to a vinyl-coated wire kitchen utility rack thing. I will tie on a ladder and then place various houses and things on the extra levels so there will be three levels including the floor. This will gave them quite the jungle gym!

I ended up not doing the high rise. I discovered that Regina lives for sesame sticks! After I ran out of what I had, I had to special order them for her.

The morning of 10/29/15, little Emma did not come out for breakfast. They both always come out when I go in the tank twice a day. I found her in a bed she made. Her breathing was labored. I knew this was it. She was gone when I got home from work. Mice live fast and die fast. I examined her body a little bit. She did have a sort of lump on one side of her tummy but it was not hard. Mice are prone to tumors but I do not know if that was it. I miss little Emma. I had her a few weeks short of a year.

I was not ready to not have mice, and I did not want Regina to be alone even though she could be a bully. I bought two more female mice on 11/3/15. I had intended to get a white one to name Snow, and a gray and white one to name Belle in keeping with the "Once Upon a Time" theme, and knowing the little variety that the store had previously. Well, they had some gorgeous mice this time of all different colors and hair types. I got a medium-hair butterscotch one and a medium-hair little grayish/ black and white one. The black and white one did have white but she was not a "Snow," maybe a dirty Snow. And, the other girl was no Belle. I saw a butterscotch mouse years ago that I wanted and could not have, and I had named her Butterscotch in my head so that is this one's name. The other one I named Dottie because it suited her. Regina was not happy to have new friends. She has mildly attacked them a few times with the newcomers squeaking but then I will find her sitting next to one of them without a problem so I think they will settle in. When I got Regina and Emma, they spent most of their time riding the wheels. Butterscotch just likes to hang, and Dottie loves to eat but they are much more subdued than Regina. I call Butterscotch Scotchie. Scotchie is missing the end of her tail. I saw Dottie eat some kale. I put fruits and veggies in for the mice but this is first time I have seen someone actually eat them! Months later, Dottie always goes for the kale first. She must be a health nut.

The mice were doing so well. Then, when I got home on 3/29/16, I knew right away that Scotchie was dying. She had seemed fine that morning but now she was splayed out, eyes looking dry and mostly shut, legs sticking out, barely responsive when I touched her with no attempt to get away. I knew she was beyond help but I do not know why. She was so soft. She was gone by morning. She had been a bit plumper than Regina or Dottie (who is downright anorexic) so perhaps she had a tumor. She was way too young. I love you little Scotchie!

Little Dottie started to deteriorate soon after. She became super scared of me for some reason. She lost weight. I could see redness on her rectum. On 4/23/16, when I cleaned the tank, I picked her up and looked a bit more even though she was wiggling. Her rectum is a dark pink and inflammed. It does not really look like a prolapse or like wet tail (no diarrhea) or like a virus like Herpes. I have no idea what it is. She has started to squeak too. Actually, though I would confirm in March that Regina was squeaking so I do not know if it was both of them or just her. She squeaked up a storm when I put her in the small cage on 5/14/16 while cleaning her main tank. I am not sure if this means she is sick or mentally ill or just wants to talk.

I brought my three guinea pigs to the vet on 6/23/16. At $71 per exam, I did not want to pay to have Dottie examined but the receptionist said he could glance at it because I really just wanted to know why her rear was so red. My best guess was a rectal prolapse, and I was right. The red area was much more pronounced at the vet, perhaps due to stress. He gave me some long q-tips and told me to put Vaseline on them and gently push the prolapse back in and that it would probably pop back out again. Well, at home, Dottie wiggled so much that I could not do it. I managed to touch the prolapse a few times and even gave it a little push but nothing happened. Then, she bit me so I gave up. She will just have to live with it as she has been for months. Looking it up on-line, it is pretty common with mice, and as long as it does not dry out, they can live with it. Considering their very short lifetimes, it is not worth the effort to worry over it.

Beginning in October of 2016, I noticed major changes in Regina. She began to lose hair and lose weight. Her eyes became a bit swollen and yucky. I tried to put eye drops that I had for my guinea pigs in her eyes but she would not hold still. She also seemed a bit out of it and wobbled when she walked. She was slowly dying. I finally found her little body on 10/25/16. She died 18 days before it would have been two years that I had her. She was fully grown when I got her. The vet had said that he had seen a few two-year-old mice but never a 3-year-old mouse. Since Dottie has a rectal prolapse, she will spend the rest of her life alone. Other mice would bother it. I will miss Regina a lot.

My last mouse, Dottie, did well for a little while but her rectal prolapse started to bleed more and more. The little angel died on 11/29/16.


General Care and Maintenance

General Information

Mice are ubiquotous and yet most humans have not taken the time to really examine and appreciate mice. They are "appreciated" by many in the scientific community who use them for lab experimentation because they are small, fast to breed, smart, and suprisingly have a lot in common with humans. For almost as long as people have been killing mice for sharing their homes and food and for experimentation, they have also kept them as pets. Most pet mice are called "fancy" mice which just means that they were bred to be pets and not for other reasons such as experimentation or to feed your pet snake. There are a number of fancy mouse varieties including naked mice, silky mice, Angora mice, and texel mice. As with all animals (such as all raccoons do not have rabies, and all reptiles do not have salmonella), most mice are not carrying diseases that are harmful to humans. Only sick mice are diseased. Healthy mice, especially ones raised as pets from the beginning, are not dangerous.

How many and what sex should I get?

In the wild, mice live in colonies of one breeding male, his group of females, and their young. A mature male will not tolerate other adult males with him. In captivity, it is best to either keep a male by himself or to keep a group of females. How many you can keep depends on how much room that you have. I believe that more room is better so I would only keep a few in a 10 gallon. If crowded, females will bicker too. Mating is super fast so if you have a male near your female for just an instant, you may soon be blessed with 20 more mice.

Cages and Supplies

Again, the bigger, the better. Often mice are placed in glass tanks under 10 gallons or tiny metal or plastic containers. A few mice should be in a 10+ gallon tank or metal cage with very small slats as mice can squeeze through the tiniest of openings.

Cover the bottom with bedding like white CareFresh or aspen shavings. Do not use cedar shavings or pine shavings with additives. You should add a small sleeping box with soft bedding. They sell a fluffy material for beds but paper towels can work. Also, provide tissue boxes, empty toilet rolls, blocks of untreated wood, and other toys you can buy. Mice love to chew and play. Exercise wheels are good but be sure they are secure and not too big. The ones that have a solid floor are better than ones that can grab and catch a little mousey foot. Clean the litter at least once every few weeks.

Feeding

Start with a high quality, mixed mouse food. It should contain other foods beside seeds. Then, also provide small pieces of carrot, other vegetables, and fruits. They eat most any vegetarian food. Feed similar foods as you would to a rabbit, including carrot, broccoli, apple, pear, cucumber, squash, zucchini, and small amounts of kale, grapes, parsley, and other fruits and vegetables. As treats, you can give them cantaloupe, honeydew melon, strawberries, wine berries, blackberries, nuts, etc. The key is to give lots of variety and not too much of one thing (especially fruits and leafy vegetables). Also, in rural areas free of chemical treatments, grass, dandelion greens, clover, and many other lawn plants cannot be beat. Again, only give these in small amounts and avoid poisonous plants. Seeds and nuts preferred by mice include sunflower, safflower, millet, peanuts, and more. Since they are fatty, only feed these in small amounts. Experiment.

Health

Mice rarely get sick and, when they do, they are hard to treat. They can have maloccluded teeth. These require trimming. Mice can get mites which are sometimes treated with ivermectin injections. Sometimes, mouses catch wet tail. This is a bad diarrhea that requires treatment. There are medications available without seeing a vet. Upper respiratory infections are pretty common, especially if the mice are kept in dirty surroundings. Due to their small size, mice are difficult to treat. Mice live one to three years with two years average.


Books

I bought one book on mice. I can comment about it here later after I look at it.


Catalogs and Web Sites

Catalogs:

Free catalogs for small mammals from That Pet Place can be obtained by calling 1-888-THATPET.

Drs. Foster and Smith has a small animal catalog that you can receive free by calling 1-800-826-7206.

Additional Links:


Mice Photos and Videos

Here are photos of my mice from oldest to newest.

These photos are from the day that I got Regina and Emma, 11/12/14:
Mice tank - you can see Regina inside, and my cat, Tinkie, on the lid.
Regina
Regina
Emma
Emma

The mice on 1/10/15:
Mice tank with Tinkie on top; I was in the middle of cleaning so most of their stuff is not in the tank; I see Regina.
Emma (left) and Regina (right) - so fast that they are a blur!
Regina
Regina
Regina
Emma - "Peek-A-Boo!"
Emma (top in the tube) and Regina (bottom)
Mice tank after cleaning; I see Regina

I also did a video on 1/10/15. This link will take you to YouTube.
Mice on 1/10/15.

From 5/29/15:
Emma
Regina and Emma (Emma is in the house)
Emma - She is so cute!

From 7/30/15:
Regina (front) and Emma (on wheel)
Regina (back) and Emma (front)
Emma - her last photo

Mouse tank on 10/11/15.

Here are photos of the mice on 11/3/15 when I got Butterscotch and Dottie.
Butterscotch
Butterscotch
Butterscotch
Dottie
Dottie
Dottie
Dottie
Regina

These photos are from 11/7/15. The mice were in a two gallon plastic "tank" where I put them when I clean their 20 gallon tank.
Regina, Butterscotch, and Dottie
Regina, Butterscotch, and Dottie

Here are the last photos of my mice from 10/8/16 when I had them in their cleaning tank:
Regina and Dottie
Regina
Dottie's rectal prolapse - view looking up through the plastic
Regina
Regina and Dottie
Regina and Dottie


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