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Helpful Tips on Caring for Pet Mice
Out of all the pets you can have these days, one of the easiest to maintain and care for would be mice, or other small pocket pets. Unlike cats, dogs and other domesticated animals, mice don't need shots or require training to be a great pet. In fact, mice are more prone to memorize and keep up with a daily routine rather than be trained to do certain tasks. Having two mice of my own, I've learned and experienced a lot of things that may help shape a better understanding of how well mannered and smart they can be.
The first and most important thing to do before getting your mouse is to do your research! There are tons of informational websites out there that will give you a more in depth, step by step guide to caring for your mouse.
When picking out your mouse, one of the most important things is the gender. If you're looking for just one single pet mouse, a male would be your best bet. The reason for this is that female mice actually become very depressed and withdrawn when they don't have a fellow female companion. A male and female together would only have one thing in mind: Reproducing. So unless you want a very large family of adorable mice, or are willing to pay to have them spayed/neutered, I wouldn't recommend putting the two together. Having two males together can be troublesome as well, because they will fight to establish and maintain dominance. There is a slight chance they will get along after you bring them home, but it's very important to keep them together if they do get along. Separating them for any long period of time (Example: overnight or throughout the day) will cause them to slowly lose the connection they have and will soon start fighting. Sometime the males will fight until death, or until someone intervenes and stops it, so it's very important to keep a close eye on them for the first week or so. If your male mice can't get along, then you'll have no choice but to keep them in separate tanks/wire cages and let them roam around each other on the floor under supervision. They might start to fight, and intervening is again important, but having a sense of another mouse around may help ease their stress of feeling isolated and lonely. Regardless of size and stature, mice are just as capable of feeling emotions as other animals, so patience and affection are, of course, a must!
Another important thing to remember is that it takes time for them to feel safe and at home with you. Most mice will be so scared the first few days that they will do anything to try to escape. The only way to calm the mouse down and let it know you're not going to hurt it is to have some one-on-one contact with it as much as possible, without being overbearing. This may take a little while, and again, patience is going to play a big role here. But eventually, you'll start to see them come around. Becoming more comfortable with you and their new home, they will start to slowly come out of their "shell" and accept you as their mommy or daddy.
A few other things to keep in mind are food/treats and habitat placement. It's a good idea to keep your mouse's home off the ground, whether they live in a wire cage or an open aquarium. This is because, if for some reason, your mouse finds it's way out without you noticing, it will cut the chances of it running away, never to be seen again, in half. You also want to use organic bedding. Wood chip bedding carry's a high risk of giving your mouse mites, and that is never good! When it comes to food and treats, any mix of small animal feed should do. Mice enjoy eating things like nuts, seeds, dried fruit & pellets. As special treats, you can give them (in moderation) cooked noodles, a little bit of peanut butter on a small cracker, or small cuts of fresh fruit.
In all, mice are really awesome creatures. I've had my two boys for about seven months now, and they almost seem like little people! They know their names, they love going for rides on my shoulder & they really like music. As I sit here typing this, Grimace is comfortably laid out on my lap. I hope more people can look past what they think is ugly or disgusting about mice, because without us, all they know is how to survive. With us, not only can they survive, but they will feel loved and be happy while doing it. Which, in the end, is all anybody ever really wants out of life.