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A New Owner Guide: Mouse Basics


Filed in Small Animals, Mice

So you've decided to get a mouse. Congratulations! All you have to do now is go to the pet store and pick one out, right? Not quite.

Domestically raised mice have become popular pets in the United States and Europe. They are readily available, relatively inexpensive and easy to care for. Plus, most enjoy human handling.

Owning a mouse can bring a lot of joy and company to both adults and children. However, the decision of whether to actually get a pet should be considered thoroughly! Although most new mouse purchases are positive experiences, impulse purchases usually lead to unhappy pets and owners.

Actually deciding to plunge into the world of mouse ownership requires a little more thought. There are several factors you need to figure into your decision.

Mice will need your care for approximately two years. Although mice are low-maintenance pets, they still need food, cleaning, attention, and veterinary care if necessary. It's important that you spend time with your new pet, and that he stays with you throughout his life.

Mice are one of the smallest pets you can purchase, and are also among the least expensive. While a 10-gallon aquarium will hold a single hamster or a pair of gerbils, you can keep up to eight mice in a single aquarium.

Mice are also available in a very wide variety of colors and varieties, including satin, long hair, and curly hair. There are other `fancy mice' as well that boast an even greater variety of colors and traits.

Many new mouse owners are quick to point out two specific concerns: reproductive capacity and smell. A pair of mice, with sufficient care, can produce an amazing number of offspring. Since they mature quickly, a mouse owner can quickly become overwhelmed as the litters begin to have, well, litters. While it is usually quite easy to get pet stores to take mice, they are usually taken for use in feeding reptiles and snakes, or for scientific research.

There is a difference between smells emanating from a dirty cage (usually droppings and urine) and the natural scent of mice. Unlike females, males have a stronger, musk-like smell. New owners react differently to this smell - some get to use to it, while others do not. In general, females have less of a scent, especially when kept clean.

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