How to Make a House for Pet Mice

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Pet mice, sometimes called "fancy" mice, are surprisingly social and fun to watch. These little pets require only a minimum of fuss and a small amount of space in a house, dorm or apartment. Mice are social animals, so it is best for the mice, and more fun for the owner, to keep more than one mouse at a time. Housing mice of the same gender insures you won't end up with more mice than you bargained for. Females generally get along better with one another than males.

Place a glass or acrylic tank on a level surface, not above eye level. The mouse habitat should be in a busy part of the home where the mice will receive attention and stimulation, but away from speakers or other loud noises. The mouse house should sit in an area that is neither drafty nor in direct sunlight. Cover the tank with a screened lid—not a tight, aquarium-style hood—to provide plenty of ventilation while preventing escape. You should provide at least two square feet of living space for each mouse you intend to keep.

Place a layer of newspaper on the bottom of the tank. This will help soak up waste and make removing old bedding easier during cleaning time.

Add one to two inches of a paper-based bedding. Avoid wood chips, which can cause respiratory distress.

Attach a water bottle of an appropriate size for very small rodents.

Add a "burrow." This is where the mice can cuddle up and go to sleep. An empty box, such as one that held tissues or garbage bags, turned on its side and filled with squares of unscented, uncolored toilet paper or tissue works perfectly. Pet stores also sell plenty of small baskets, wooden mini-houses and other burrows that fancy mice will accept.

Give your mice toys. Mice are active and curious and need plenty of stimulation. Fun toys for pet mice can be as simple as a paper towel roll, or as complicated as a store-bought jungle-gym for rodents. Pet mice need to gnaw to keep their teeth a comfortable size, so add plenty of items made of wood and cardboard for chewing. When choosing a rodent wheel, look for one with no spokes. Mice have been known to get their feet caught in the spokes of wheels, causing injuries.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not provide a food dish; simply toss their food into the cage. Allowing your mice to forage for their food provides stimulation.
  • Clean your mouse habitat regularly to prevent toxic ammonia buildup and bacterial infections.

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