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Mice as pets?

Kile

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Kile
Possible trigger warning/ I will be talking about a mouse being injured and passing away in case that bothers or upsets anyone.


A while back I found a mouse in the barn that got its back legs and lower body crushed by a snap trap and its back legs were paralyzed, so I watched over it in a little wagon filled with hay until it passed away 2 or 3 days later and it was so sad :(. I hate hate hate having to use snap traps on mice but we decided to because we don't want the mice to bring illness to our chickens or donkeys and they will just come back if you use a humane trap and release them. I love taking care of little creatures and either it knew I wanted to help it or it wanted to get warm because when it was able to walk with its front legs before it began to rest and passed away the next 2 days it would climb into my glove and sit there.

After that happened I've seriously been considering getting 2 pet mice or maybe a hamster instead but I'm so off-put by the fact that they only live up to maybe and rarely 3 years. I get attached to little animals really fast and I wonder if it would be too much heartbreak after such a short time, but maybe it would feel longer than it seems.

Have any of you had mice before? Are they fun to watch or friendly or fun to handle every once in a while (other than pee and poo, which is expected and doesn't bother me)? I'm not too worried about the care and cleanup involved but more concerned about them being super smelly or unfriendly. Has anyone had bad experiences with them or opinions on the lifespan situation? Also will they smell really bad even if I clean the cage out every other day? I don't want to rush into getting an animal and end up regretting it.
 

Kile

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Kile
I've never had mice... maybe @Zonlover? I know she has/had rats but not mice... oh well, they're similar.
I have actually had 3 rats before but I was in grade school (probably around 2nd grade?) so I can hardly remember it. I do remember seeing one of them die of a stroke though... :(
 

Miss Annamarie

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Mice are awesome! They're not as interactive as rats, but can still be very friendly. You can get either one male, or at least 3 females. 10-15g is the minimum size tank. Don't go to petco for mice, go to a breeder, i can reccommend one that ive been looking into. Lots of people including me experience petco mice dying within days.
 

Chomskypom

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I had a mouse when I was a kid and he was the COOLEST little dude! It was the late 90s so I taught him to ride one of those tiny tech-deck skateboards while I slowly pushed it, among other tricks. He loved being out and with me. Peppy was just a 99 cent “feeder” mouse intended to be a snake’s dinner but he was a joyful little soul and I’m so glad to have known him.
I cleaned his cage every week and didn’t mind the smell at the time. I wouldn’t want rodents again now for various reasons but I really enjoyed my mouse. Especially compared to the dwarf hamster I had later, who seemed like an unfriendly and incurious little creature to my child self. I loved her anyway but she didn’t want to learn tricks and was never excited to come out of her cage.

The lifespan question is one you’ve got to come to terms with yourself, I think. Birds spoil us with their long lives and it can be really jarring to look at another pet and realize your time together will be shorter. If you’re interested in rodents but would like a companion for the long term, I’ve read that chinchillas can live into their teens. They have a lot of specific care requirements and need much more space than a mouse but they’re fun and personable.
 

Kile

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Kile
Mice are awesome! They're not as interactive as rats, but can still be very friendly. You can get either one male, or at least 3 females. 10-15g is the minimum size tank. Don't go to petco for mice, go to a breeder, i can reccommend one that ive been looking into. Lots of people including me experience petco mice dying within days.
Luckily, I don't even have a Petco here. We have a Pet Smart... but I wouldn't guess that's any better considering the health of a few birds I've seen when I bought my two budgies o_O . We have a local pet store that we went to recently to buy my grandmother 2 budgies for Christmas and the budgies there seemed healthier and even a little larger than the ones at Pet Smart. They told me their budgies came from some Amish breeder and hand raised or something like that and not bird mill conditions, and they said they are decently friendly. The only thing I could complain about is that their wings are clipped and I'm waiting for their molt. I got an adult male and a younger one that hasn't developed its eye irises or nostril color yet so I'm just going to guess its a girl and see what happens :lol:. They are both beautiful colors and seem friendlier than birds you'd get at Pet Smart, though they are still pretty scared of my hands. They had other rodents and a bunch of mice at the local place so I think that's my best bet for where to get them if I decide to! Thanks for the advice. :)
 

Kile

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I had a mouse when I was a kid and he was the COOLEST little dude! It was the late 90s so I taught him to ride one of those tiny tech-deck skateboards while I slowly pushed it, among other tricks. He loved being out and with me. Peppy was just a 99 cent “feeder” mouse intended to be a snake’s dinner but he was a joyful little soul and I’m so glad to have known him.
I cleaned his cage every week and didn’t mind the smell at the time. I wouldn’t want rodents again now for various reasons but I really enjoyed my mouse. Especially compared to the dwarf hamster I had later, who seemed like an unfriendly and incurious little creature to my child self. I loved her anyway but she didn’t want to learn tricks and was never excited to come out of her cage.

The lifespan question is one you’ve got to come to terms with yourself, I think. Birds spoil us with their long lives and it can be really jarring to look at another pet and realize your time together will be shorter. If you’re interested in rodents but would like a companion for the long term, I’ve read that chinchillas can live into their teens. They have a lot of specific care requirements and need much more space than a mouse but they’re fun and personable.
That's pretty awesome, I think I'm considering it even more now :arghh:! People often take feeder animals for granted but they can be just as cool as the animals you're feeding them to. If I decide to get one I'll probably clean out some of the shavings at least like twice a week so my room doesn't get smelly. We have a ton of mice living in our hay stack in the barn and the ENTIRE big barn smells like straight up mice when you walk in so I definitely know they have an odor but its probably not so bad with just 1-3. Hamsters seem boring imo... they just burrow and sit there. I've heard mice are fun to watch playing. I'd love to get an Omlet Qute hamster cage for a mouse (it has ample space, easy to clean, and can serve as a side table) but I don't know if the bars are too wide for mice. I've only seen two reviews saying they used it for mice and they didn't complain so maybe it is fine but if not I can always get some cattle or chicken mesh to put around it or something. I can probably come to terms with the lifespan. Chinchillas is a no, my mother had one and she said it was mean and she didn't have a good experience with it :lol:. I don't think I want a rodent bigger than a hamster though because I don't think I have much space for a cage for one.. I always have 1-2 bird cages stuffed in my room. I would really like a rabbit though... we have an Omlet hutch outside we used for our ducks that is currently vacant but I'd probably rather have it indoors than out. The cats might think differently :rofl:
 

Miss Annamarie

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I know someone with a pet mouse. Apparently his pet mouse is fat, it pees a lot, and it stinks up the whole room. I have never been to his house so I can’t confirm. :shrug:
Males are stinkier than females especially when you first get them because they are marking. Frequent and slightly less thourough cleanings will help.
 

elitys

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I've had hamsters, and they are a good pet for busier people (I say this NOT meaning that you can feel free to neglect them, they are just lower maintenance than a parrot). They are nocturnal and do not have a very socially developed brain, so if you give them the right set up (VERY large cage, lots of hides, variety of chew toys, deep bedding, foraging, etc.) they can really go with or without your personal attention. They benefit from free roaming time and they certainly like treats, but I wouldn't say they really see you as a "friend" from my experience with the hamsters I've had.

On the other hand, mice will need your attention. They're colony animals, so they have a need for social interaction. It is not recommended to keep two male mice together as they have the tendency to become aggressive towards one another, so a single male mouse would require the most attention from you. You can instead opt for a group of females (properly introduced, housed in a very large enclosure) as pets that would be more hands off.

Please consider that the bare minimum cage sizes are going to be too small, from my experience. These animals are highly active and even in cages that are many times bigger than the bare minimums, some show signs of cage-related stress.

In addition, don't expect to form the same bond with them as you will with a bird. I'm not saying you won't love them to pieces and be distraught by their passing, but they do not have the same level of emotional intelligence that birds do. I loved having my hamsters and enjoyed them for what they are, but I find my bond with Poppy to be more personal. My hamster liked me for treats to put it simply lol.

Still, they are wonderful little animals to spend a few years with and they are so, so cute. My last hamster, Noodle, passed away a few months ago. He lived with me in my parent's home in California, moved with me to my dorm in Oregon, moved back to California during the pandemic, and his final home was with me in my first apartment. The whole time, he offered his version of companionship (being cute, tolerating the occasional cuddle, and taking treats) and spent the rest of the time just hamstering around. I am grateful that he lived to be over 2 years old and I enjoyed my time with him very much.
 

tka

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Agreed - most cages sold for small animals are unfairly small. The Omelet Qute is 37x48cm which is on the small side for such active small animals. This site suggests 60x50cm for two mice: Caring for your pet mouse | Blue Cross

Male mice tend to be smellier. Perhaps counter-intuitively, cleaning them out very regularly (e.g. daily) and thoroughly will stress them out and cause them to scent mark more to claim the space.

Bedding should be dust free. Pine contains chemicals that aggravate their respiratory systems. Aspen and cardboard (often sold for horses) are both good. I haven't used Carefresh for years, but I stopped using it because even the supposed dust-free stuff was dusty.
 

MC_Hahn's

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Here's my two-cents:
I've watched several hamsters and mice in the past and owned gerbils a few years ago. From my experience, rodents are very smelly, no matter how often you clean the cages. The smaller hamsters can be quite aggressive from what I've heard and seen. I love mice but dislike the hairless tail. My gerbils were amazing--I had two females and they got along well. I let them run around in a playpen and they chewed on pumpkins and ran in their plastic balls. They loved chewing coconut shells too and were definately more active than hamsters! When they took dust baths, it was absolutely adorable. They lived around three or four years, until one died of a tumor and the other died of old age.

They were a joy to have, but they did create a lot of mess and constantly tried escaping.

If you want a pet with a longer lifespan but that is a small rodent, I recommend guinea pigs. They live 6-8 years and are quite sweet and cuddly. You can train them and they rarely try to run away when out of their enclosure :) Guinea pigs are the perfect pets for anyone who wants an interactive, easy-going, cuddly critter. They don't smell nearly as much if you use paper bedding instead of shavings, but the paper bedding can be a bit on the pricey side. I've grown up with guinea pigs, and I've never regretted them!

I hope that you find a good fit! Sometimes the smallest animals bring the most joy :D
 

Kile

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Kile
Here's my two-cents:
I've watched several hamsters and mice in the past and owned gerbils a few years ago. From my experience, rodents are very smelly, no matter how often you clean the cages. The smaller hamsters can be quite aggressive from what I've heard and seen. I love mice but dislike the hairless tail. My gerbils were amazing--I had two females and they got along well. I let them run around in a playpen and they chewed on pumpkins and ran in their plastic balls. They loved chewing coconut shells too and were definately more active than hamsters! When they took dust baths, it was absolutely adorable. They lived around three or four years, until one died of a tumor and the other died of old age.

They were a joy to have, but they did create a lot of mess and constantly tried escaping.

If you want a pet with a longer lifespan but that is a small rodent, I recommend guinea pigs. They live 6-8 years and are quite sweet and cuddly. You can train them and they rarely try to run away when out of their enclosure :) Guinea pigs are the perfect pets for anyone who wants an interactive, easy-going, cuddly critter. They don't smell nearly as much if you use paper bedding instead of shavings, but the paper bedding can be a bit on the pricey side. I've grown up with guinea pigs, and I've never regretted them!

I hope that you find a good fit! Sometimes the smallest animals bring the most joy :D
Thanks! I appreciate your feedback and experience :)
 

Kile

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Kile
Agreed - most cages sold for small animals are unfairly small. The Omelet Qute is 37x48cm which is on the small side for such active small animals. This site suggests 60x50cm for two mice: Caring for your pet mouse | Blue Cross

Male mice tend to be smellier. Perhaps counter-intuitively, cleaning them out very regularly (e.g. daily) and thoroughly will stress them out and cause them to scent mark more to claim the space.

Bedding should be dust free. Pine contains chemicals that aggravate their respiratory systems. Aspen and cardboard (often sold for horses) are both good. I haven't used Carefresh for years, but I stopped using it because even the supposed dust-free stuff was dusty.
Thank you for the advice, its very helpful!
 

Kile

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Kile
Agreed - most cages sold for small animals are unfairly small. The Omelet Qute is 37x48cm which is on the small side for such active small animals. This site suggests 60x50cm for two mice: Caring for your pet mouse | Blue Cross

Male mice tend to be smellier. Perhaps counter-intuitively, cleaning them out very regularly (e.g. daily) and thoroughly will stress them out and cause them to scent mark more to claim the space.

Bedding should be dust free. Pine contains chemicals that aggravate their respiratory systems. Aspen and cardboard (often sold for horses) are both good. I haven't used Carefresh for years, but I stopped using it because even the supposed dust-free stuff was dusty.
Also, I have had a hard time trying to find a good size cage for mice that has small enough bar spacing o_O I think that is my worst issue right now. Id also prefer to have a cage that is safe while not some funky bright color so my options are limited or maybe none
 

Kile

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Kile
I've had hamsters, and they are a good pet for busier people (I say this NOT meaning that you can feel free to neglect them, they are just lower maintenance than a parrot). They are nocturnal and do not have a very socially developed brain, so if you give them the right set up (VERY large cage, lots of hides, variety of chew toys, deep bedding, foraging, etc.) they can really go with or without your personal attention. They benefit from free roaming time and they certainly like treats, but I wouldn't say they really see you as a "friend" from my experience with the hamsters I've had.

On the other hand, mice will need your attention. They're colony animals, so they have a need for social interaction. It is not recommended to keep two male mice together as they have the tendency to become aggressive towards one another, so a single male mouse would require the most attention from you. You can instead opt for a group of females (properly introduced, housed in a very large enclosure) as pets that would be more hands off.

Please consider that the bare minimum cage sizes are going to be too small, from my experience. These animals are highly active and even in cages that are many times bigger than the bare minimums, some show signs of cage-related stress.

In addition, don't expect to form the same bond with them as you will with a bird. I'm not saying you won't love them to pieces and be distraught by their passing, but they do not have the same level of emotional intelligence that birds do. I loved having my hamsters and enjoyed them for what they are, but I find my bond with Poppy to be more personal. My hamster liked me for treats to put it simply lol.

Still, they are wonderful little animals to spend a few years with and they are so, so cute. My last hamster, Noodle, passed away a few months ago. He lived with me in my parent's home in California, moved with me to my dorm in Oregon, moved back to California during the pandemic, and his final home was with me in my first apartment. The whole time, he offered his version of companionship (being cute, tolerating the occasional cuddle, and taking treats) and spent the rest of the time just hamstering around. I am grateful that he lived to be over 2 years old and I enjoyed my time with him very much.
Thank you for your two cents on the issue :D I appreciate your feedback
 

Kile

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Alright I've decided that if I end up getting mice, I will probably get a pair or 3 females, and I will most likely build my own bin cage :) they can be a much cheaper option and you can customize it how you want, and provide ample space for the mice. I will probably get females because they are less smelly than males, and they socialize with each other. I will definitely still handle them, but I would worry with a male mouse that it would get lonely. Thanks for the advice and help everyone! Will probably post if I get mice but it may not be until early next year if it happens. :D If you have any more advice or if there's something you think I need to know, please let me know! The last thing I want is to make any mistakes
 
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