Mice make great pets for all ages and they are fun to play with. Please remember however, that mice are high maintenance. Before you do anything, decide how many mice you want, and what sex. There are two best ratios: a single male or a trio of females. Female mice need other female mice companions, and males are best kept on their own. If you do not have the time to devote to your pets every day, don’t purchase a male.


Mice are expert at squeezing through small spaces. So make sure the bar gauge (the space between the bars) of your cage is no more than 8mm. Many cages suitable for hamsters have a much wider gauge, so always check and make sure you get the correct gauge. Aquariums also make good cages for mice. Aquariums offer all round vision whilst also keeping the occupants warm and snug and safe from draughts. Do not place cages or aquariums in direct sunlight. Some aquariums come with a lid, but ventilation holes will need to be drilled into it, or construct a lid out of small gauge wire, the more solid the better. Chicken wire is not really suitable as it breaks up too easily, also a persistent mouse will eventually manage to chew through it. Mice are pretty persistent, so whatever type of cage you choose, make sure the mice can’t escape!

Position of cage

Aquariums especially should not be put in direct sunlight, and cages should be kept out of cold draughts. Place the cage in a quiet room – especially when you have just taken it home.


Contrary to popular belief, most mice don’t actually like cheese. Like any other pet, a mouse needs a well balanced diet. Best combinations of dry food include rolled oats, mixed corn, flaked maize and dried crushed peas. Too many peanuts and sunflower seeds are not good as they are too rich in protein. Occasionally dog biscuits are quite nutritious and also give mice something extra to gnaw. Mice can be given some greens as, apart from the vitamins, they also contain a good degree of moisture. But some words of advice – AVOID LETTUCE. Carrot, turnip and swede are good for filling, but cabbage and sprouts are also acceptable. Natural greens include chickweed, dandelion and young grass shoots – but always wash thoroughly before feeding. Apple is a favourite fruit with tomatoes as 2nd best. Remember though, greens should be given sparingly. Once or twice a week is often enough.


Mice prefer sawdust, but shavings are acceptable. Put a good layer on the floor of the cage. As with hamsters, a jam jar placed in the corner will be used as a toilet and is easy to clean. Bedding placed in a nest box makes a warm safe place for sleeping. Clean the cage frequently and use an animal disinfectant to keep the cage smelling fresh and disease free.

Exercise, furnishings and toys

Mice do not really go much for toys but will play when they want to. Toilet rolls are often used for makeshift burrows and gnawing activities. A small block of wood in the cage is also a good idea. Mice do love to gnaw (although not all do) and a piece of wood will prevent mice from damaging parts of their cage. Mice are quite acrobatic and many toys suitable for birds e.g. ladders and swings will be appreciated. Make sure you buy metal ones – unless you do not mind wooden ones being chewed. Exercise wheels are also useful; a solid one is best as tails can sometimes get caught.

Settling in and holding

When you get your new mouse home put it in its new cage with a supply of food and water and leave it to settle in for a day or so. The way to most animals’ hearts is through their stomach, so tasty titbits will help your mouse get to know you, till eventually your pet will feel confident enough to climb onto your palm. If required you can hold your pet by the tail CLOSE TO THE BASE to keep it from jumping off. It is a good idea to sit on a chair or sofa and let your new friend explore and run over you. Just remember to be prepared in case it should make a break for freedom! Eventually by stroking and talking to your mouse gently it should become tame and confident in your company.


Single sex colonies – two females (does) or more are best, two males out of the same litter would get on, but sometimes fighting will eventually occur over territory/supremacy. Also males do smell more.


Like guinea pigs, mice can suffer from mites, usually brought in with untreated hay or sawdust.

Important information

Mice generally live for 1.5 – 2 years.
If a mouse becomes ill, veterinary treatment may be needed. Although many mice will never need veterinary treatment during their life, you should be prepared for the possibility when taking on the commitment of a pet.