How to: Care for Your Pet Mouse

Mice are inquisitive and love human companionship. So if you’ve chosen to adopt a mouse, what’s the best way of caring for these gentle little animals? Read on to find out.

RSPCA NSW’s six-point guide will help you ensure your mouse stays happy and healthy. Remember, if you have any concerns or questions, speak to your veterinarian as soon as possible.


1. Companionship

Mice are very sociable, so enjoy being kept with other mice. However, if you do keep males and females together, make sure both animals are the same sex or at least one gender has been desexed. Paired females tend to get on better than paired males.

2. Diet

Mice are omnivores, so eat both animal and plant materials. They need a protein level of at least 16 per cent and a fat content of four to five per cent. To ensure your mouse stays happy and healthy, you should feed him:

  • fresh fruit and vegetables, such as apples (without seeds), bananas, beans, berries, bok choy and other Asian greens, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, carrots, celery, citrus fruits, endive, fresh corn, melon, parsley, peas, pears, stone fruits and tomatoes
  • a small amount of good quality commercial rat pellets or rat cubes
  • access to clean, fresh water at all times. A bottle-type drinker works well, as the water won’t get dirty.

Do not give your mouse a diet based on grains or seed mixes. Bread, breakfast cereal, biscuits, cereals, cooked pasta, cooked rice, seeds and sweets should be considered occasional treats. Never feed your mouse chips, chocolate, garlic, lemons, lollies, onions, oranges, raw meat, peanuts or sugar.

3. Enrichment

Mice are very intelligent, so will enjoy playing with toys. Try putting treats into an empty kitchen or toilet roll tube, and stuffing both ends with paper for him. You can also give him a hammock to swing in.

4. Handling

Always make sure you handle your mouse gently. This will help him stay calm. Never pick him up by his tail.

5. Health

By ensuring your mouse is given a good diet, you will help protect him from many common health problems. These include obesity and obesity-related diseases, such as joint and mobility problems. Keeping his cage clean is also vital.

Mice are very susceptible to heat stress, which can be fatal. Make sure his cage is kept in a sheltered area which is well ventilated, and kept out of direct sunlight and strong winds. He must always have access to adequate shade.

For more information about preventing heatstroke, please click here.

6. Housing


Your mouse’s cage should be as interesting and large as possible. Ensure it is clean, and protects him from cold, heat, rain, wind and other environmental dangers. Birdcage-type enclosures are usually better than glass or plastic tubs. The cage must be both escape and predator proof.

Mice love to burrow and nest, so your new friend needs lots of suitable bedding, such as pelleted recycled paper cat litter or shredded paper. Do not use sawdust. Change his bedding at least every two days.

Your mouse also needs cardboard boxes or similar objects to hide and sleep in, and a block of untreated wood to chew. You can also give him old pieces of towels to use for sleeping material. Your mouse’s enclosure should never smell. Clean it regularly, and disinfect it with a rabbit or rat cage cleaner.

For more information about housing your mouse, please click here.

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