Getting a Pet Mouse

Reviewed by Kathleen Claussen, DVM on July 08, 2021

Mice are entertaining indoor pets. They’re easy to take care of because they create few demands. You can quickly train them to be disciplined and how to handle food while they are still young. Before choosing a pet mouse, however, there are some things you need to know.

Preparing for Pet Mice

There are numerous things to consider before bringing pet mice home.

Housing. Mice live in small groups and require cages. Housing mice requires you to separate the males, as they need their own space. Unfamiliar males tend to fight.

Pet mouse housing should be made of a wire cage with a plastic tray floor. Wooden floors can absorb urine and become smelly. Use a solid, secure floor to prevent mice from escaping and prevent injuring their feet. Don’t use a cage with a wire mesh floor.

Two mice will need an enclosure measuring 60 centimeters long by 50 centimeters wide by 30 centimeters tall. The height will create more space for the mice to stand upright.

You should "mouse-proof" your house before you get your new pets. Your windows should always remain shut to avoid mice escaping. Keep your house free of any fragile objects that your mice could knock over. Always watch your children if you allow your mice to roam around the house to avoid accidents.

Health care. Before acquiring pet mice, consult your vet and ask about anything you may need. Your mice should be monitored for obesity, tumors, overgrown teeth, or respiratory issues. They may need vaccinations against rabies and other diseases. Your vet can also tell you whether your mice need spaying or neutering.

Supplies. Before your mice come home, make sure that you have some essential supplies and resources. These include:

  • Enclosure
  • Litter box
  • Secure mouse carrier
  • Food dish
  • Water dish
  • Drip bottle
  • Bedding
  • Exercise wheel
  • Hidey-hole

Diet. Mice are omnivorous and can feed on plant and animal products. Commercial food pellets are available, Provide a mixture of meats and vegetables in their diet that contains essential nutrients for your mouse.

The mixture you choose should have seeds, grains, pulses, and some meat, such as dried mealworms. You can also add some fruits like strawberries and grapes. Small amounts of boiled eggs, dog biscuits, dried herbs, and millet seed spray can serve as treats for your pet mice. Also avoid fats and oils of seeds and nuts

Training Pet Mice

Mice do things their way and will need your assistance in managing their behaviors and discipline. Training your pet mouse will involve numerous factors.

Behavioral training. Mice are not used to handling and may bite you. With time, however, you can train them on acceptable behaviors and tame them. 

Allow your mice to become acquainted with their new environment. As they become calm, mice may start spending more time close to their cage. Also, start talking to them quietly, and they will become used to your voice.

When you bring new mice into the cage, first separate them to avoid fighting among themselves. You can then slowly introduce the new mice to the others, and with time they will become fond of each other.

Toilet training. Young mice can be difficult when it comes to managing their waste. You can slowly train your mice to use a litter box by placing their waste in it and having them smell it. Check for places where the mice usually go to the bathroom and put the litter box there. Encourage the mice to use the litter box by giving them a treat once they go in the right place. 

Other tips. Train your mice about places and objects they should avoid. Use treats as a means of encouraging them to not go to certain areas. You can also use bitter-apple-scented sprays on items the mice should not touch. Mice dislike this odor and will avoid any substance that smells like it.

You can also use a hissing tone to discourage your pet mice from going to some places. Once you do this regularly, the pet will become disciplined and avoid the forbidden areas.

Handling pet mice requires intensive training. Give treats every time your pet does the right thing. This will generate positive reinforcement. Always watch for any changes in behavior and consult your veterinarian when necessary. 

Train your pet mice while they are young, and as they grow they will effectively adapt to the changes. Encourage your pet to socialize with your kids. This can help prevent your mice from biting your children.

Show Sources


Blue Cross for Pets: “Caring for your mouse.”

The Journal of Infectious Diseases: “Protective Efficacy of Nucleic Acid Vaccines Against Transmission of Zika Virus During Pregnancy in Mice.”

The Spruce Pets: “How to Train Your Mouse to Play With You,” “Pet Mouse: Species Profile.”

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Animal Care Program: “Animal Specific Training: Mice.”: “Animal Specific Training: Mice.”

Wood Green, The Animals Charity: “What to feed your mice.”

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