Mice and rats are inquisitive and friendly and make ideal pets for children. With the correct care, they will keep you entertained for hours and are great companions. Ideally you should start with two or three females as companionship is important. However, males need to be kept by themselves as they will often fight especially when housed close to females. When choosing your friend, look for lively mice and rats and ensure that their eyes are bright and their fur looks clean.
A large cage with a strong plastic base and wire walls is an ideal choice for housing. Fish tanks are commonly used but they are not ideal as they are not well ventilated, cause ammonia to build up and get very warm. A hidey hold is essential to provide a dark, dry place to hide and sleep. Shredded paper can be used as bedding and soft material should be provided to make nests with. Food and a drip bottle for water should be provided.
Most rats and mice enjoy exercise wheels. Choose a solid plastic wheel which is large enough for them to run without bending their backs. Plastic wheels are safer than the wire ones as these cause tail and feet injuries. Other toys don’t need to be expensive, choosing toys from the bird section of the pet store is a good start but even cardboard boxes and tubes will keep them entertained for hours.
The easiest way to fed is to use a commercially formulated diet made especially for pet rats and mice. Rodents have incisor teeth that grow continuously, so mice and rats require something to chew on to wear their teeth down. A piece of dog biscuit is an ideal chew and snacks such as small pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables, unsweetened cereal flakes, cookie crumbs or tiny pieces of cheese are a nice treat. Fresh water is essential.
Veterinary care is important and as with other pet’s, regular health checkups are recommended. Regular visits help to detect signs and symptoms of illness early and keep your pocket pal as healthy as possible.