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So you're thinking of getting a mouse. Congradulations! Mice are wonderful intelligent pets that can be great companions when you invest the time. This thread is dedicated to mice though you're welcome to talk about other small pets as well.
I'm an Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) working in animal research. I've owned pet mice for almost a decade (currently don't have any) and work with them in a vetrinary capacity daily. I'm happy to answer any questions about mouse health, behavior and general care.

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4. Do not quote entire posts from the front page. Feel free to quote lines or sections though. We just don't want any quote towers taking up whole pages.
5. I may add more as things come up so keep an eye out here.

EDIT: The general layout of this thread was inspired/taken from the Feathered Friends Thread. Credit for that layout goes to Grey Eyed Gypsy.
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HOUSING GUIDELINES
Mice are intelligent acrobatic little animals who can be masters of escape. A general rule of thumb being that if they can fit their head through a hole the rest of the body will follow. Many cages marketed for mice really are inadequate either in bar spacing, ventilation or floor space.

Cages:
Mice need a maximum bar spacing of 1/4 inch any larger and they will escape. Unlike rats mice do well in aquariums with securely latched screen tops, so long as they are cleaned weekly.
Cages like This and This either have too large of bar spacing or have easily bent bars which will allow a mouse to escape.
Cages like This and This do not provide the ventilation needed for mice, and really don’t for hamsters either.
Cages like This and This do not provide enough floor space. Mice live in a horizontal world. Yes, they climb and tunnel, but they need floor space in which to build their nests, hide their food and interact with each other* more on this later.

So on to good housing.
Before going much farther here is a handy Mouse Cage Calculator http://www.thefunmouse.com/info/cagecalculator.cfm ,and incidentally an excellent site for all things mouse. With this you can figure out how many mice you can safely fit in your cage. Keep in mind that it gives the maximum number and sometimes this is going to be too many anyways.
With weekly cleaning mice do very well in aquariums with secure screen top lids. Here is one example This. This is a 20g long that has been set up with lots of things for mice to climb, burrow and hide in. Being a prey species giving your mouse plenty of places to hide is essential.
This This is a bin cage and will have a lid like This that can hold a water bottle or can be used to suspend hammocks or other toys/treats. Like the first cage this one has lots of things for your mice to do.


Toys:
Almost anything can be made into a toy for your mice. Empty egg carton, paper cup holder, popsicle sticks*, empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls, fabric remnants*. Most of these you can just toss in and watch you mice have fun. Just be careful with fabric remnants. Never use cotton or fabrics made with cotton. These can fray into very fine thin strands that can wrap around a tail, leg or neck and cut off circulation. They can also be swallowed by your mouse and cause an impaction or torsion of the gut and kill your mouse. Fleece is the safest and most recommend fabric for mouse toys.
Popsicle sticks can be glued, with Elmers child safe glue, into a variety of shapes for your mice to climb and hide in.

Bedding:
Never use Pine or Cedar shavings for your mouse. These have strong oils in them that cause respiratory issues in mice. Never use cat litter or any other type of clay based substrate. These are very dusty and cause respiratory issues, they can also be ingested and cause impactions.
Shredded paper is by far the safest and the cheapest, just think of all that junk mail and newspaper you throw out every day. Aspen wood shavings are also safe, but can be dusty or cause allergies. Carefresh is a safe commercial paper bedding, just stay away from the grey stuff it’s very dusty and causes respiratory issues.
I always used a mix of Aspen and shredded newspaper and Carefresh in my cages. The variety of materials resulted in some impressive nests and tunnels.
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DIET
Mice are omnivorous foragers. They will eat whatever they can find; therefore most of what you eat is safe to feed your mouse. There are a few exceptions though Citrus Fruits, Raw Artichokes, Avocado among them. It’s best to feed your mouse a premade diet or Lab Block formulated for mice. Due to their long use in medical research this is easy to find. Do not seed mixes. Mice will always pick out the fattiest, tastiest bits first and leave the rest. Supplement the lab blocks with fresh veggies daily. My favorites include, Romaine Lettuce, Kale, Green Peppers, Carrots and Spinage. You can also give fruits but in lesser amounts. Apple, Banana, Strawberries (no tops those are toxic) and Pears were always favorites with my mice. They also love uncooked pasta and cereal especially Cheerio’s and Unfrosted Mini Wheat’s (be sure to crumble). Bird Seed can also be given and used as enrichment hidden in bedding. Note: Sunflower seeds are very fatty and it’s not uncommon for mice to have allergies to some seeds. Remember mice are small, so treats should be fed in very small amounts 1 Cheerio is enough of a treat for 1 mouse for 1 day. They should be eating more of their block than anything else.

Always Provide Fresh Water in a Bottle. If water is offered in a dish mice will just fill the dish with bedding. Young mice can also fall into water dishes and drown or become hypothermic and die. Always make sure that the bottle is working correctly and that the spring is not too strong for your mice to push the ball back. Mice can become dehydrated in as little as 2 hours and can die in 3 if they do not have access to water
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HEALTH AND BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS
Mice are prone to upper respiratory infections, often caused by poor cleaning or improper bedding choices. Though they may have pre-existing infections as well that tend to pop up during times of stress. Signs are labored breathing “chirping” when breathing and runny eyes/noses (the last usually only happens when they’re really sick)
Tumors are also an issue. Abdominal tumors are common but can be easily missed until it’s too late to do anything about them. Females can develop mammary tumors and males testicular tumors. Both can also develop tumor-like masses of fat deposits high on the hips. The best thing to do is be proactive about tumors. Get your mouse/mice tame enough that you can palpate their abdomens daily, ladies this is similar to the self breast exam you should be doing. Early detection saves lives, if it’s caught early and you have a good vet (should have a good vet regardless) sometimes tumors can be removed before they spread. Most of the time though people will allow their mice to live with the tumors until either the tumor is large or the mouse’s quality of life begins to deteriorate.

Under stimulated mice are prone to a number of behavioral issues ranging from OCD to self mutilation. Most of these can be avoided by giving your mouse/mice lots to do and by providing them with daily interaction with you.
OCD behaviors rang from wheel obsession, constantly running on their wheel, to excessive grooming, or Barbering, of cage mates (females only). Most OCD behavior does not have physical health issues associated but can still cause injury. A mouse with OCD pertaining to wheels can easily be injured if a non safe wheel is provided. Barbering can lead to wounding of cage mates. Climbers can get toes caught in narrow bars or in water bottle holders. Observe your mouse. If they develop an OCD behavior make the cage as safe for that behavior as possible while trying to modify it into a safer behavior or modify it into extinction.
Self mutilation can be triggered by OCD, injury, illness or parasite infection. Sometimes this is resolved by removing the initial source, but sometimes it becomes and OCD behavior in itself. Mice that begin to self mutilate must be watched closely and behavior modification of the injuring action should begin immediately. Sometimes there is nothing that we as humans can do when mice begin to self mutilate and the best thing for them is euthanasia. This is a hard fact to deal with, but devices and solutions that work on larger pets like cats and dogs do not work on mice and are often more dangerous than the self mutilation.
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Differences between Males and Females
Mice are highly social creatures. Females need to have other females. There are documented cases of female mice dying from loneliness (stopped eating, grooming and generally taking care of themselves)
Males on the other hand MUST be kept alone. Males are highly territorial and will kill each other.
I DO NOT RECOMMEND ATTEMPTING TO KEEP MALES TOGETHER
That said some sibling males can be kept together, but must be checked every day for signs of fighting or excessive dominance. They must never be separated. If one needs to be separated for any reason they cannot be put back together. If you want to try keeping males together make sure you have 2 of everything and that they are spread out enough that one male cannot block the other from accessing the food, water, nest or enrichment toys. This is something that should ONLY be attempted by experienced mouse owners.

Neutered males are becoming more popular as they can be kept with females. I’ve even heard of someone successfully keeping neutered males together. Remember that since mice are so small anesthesia is especially complicated as is surgery. If you choose to have your mouse neutered be picky about your vet. Get references. Do Not take their word that they can do it. You want someone with experience in both mouse anesthesia and surgery.
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WHY'S AND HOW'S OF QUARANTINE
If you already own a mouse and are bringing in new mice quarantine is a must. Mice can carry a variety of mouse communicable diseases. Even if you’re getting your new mouse from the same place as the old mouse your mouse may have something they could pass to the new one.

1. Have a quarantine cage set up in a different room from the room your current mouse is in.

2. Have separate food/water bowls/bottles for each cage. Do not take them and mix them up.

3. Always play with, clean cages, and feed your original mouse first.

4. Wash your hands between handling the mice.

5. After handling your new mouse do not handle your original mouse.

6. Quarantine for a MINIMUM of 2 WEEKS.

7. After quarantine period if your new mouse shows no signs of illness begin introductions on neutral turf.
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REASONS TO TRAIN
Mice are highly trainable creatures. They’re often used in behavioral research for this reason. They can be trained to respond to their name which is very useful if they manage to get out of their cage and get lost.



THE DANGERS OF IMPULSE BUYING

Mice and other “Pocket Pets” are often victims of impulse buying. Those who purchase them often don’t know the right type of caging, food or just how much time these animals need. Many mice die from malnutrition, lack of veterinary care or just escape because people don’t think before they buy. Domestic mice are capable of reproducing with wild mice, and mice reproduce very quickly.
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HELPFUL LINKS

http://www.thefunmouse.com/

http://www.mouselovers.com/

http://www.petplace.com/small-mammals/mouse-care/page1.aspx

http://www.raleighrodentrescue.org/mouse-care.html

http://www.petfinder.com/index.html
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Reserved ninja
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Thread is now open for questions and comments 3nodding

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