On Aug 10th, we welcomed little Fasty and Halley to the family. Our children have been really amazing and they both have been asking for a puppy and a kitty, despite us already having a very beloved elderly cat.
However, considering several factors…. the children having diligently been feeding the family cat these weeks, have been very industrious and completed their summer workbooks/reading goals, as well as being very understanding with masks and Sheltering-In-Place… signaled they might be ready for the responsibility of little lives (littler than a kitty and a puppy though).
So now considering that the children are both of elementary age and pet mice are potential segues towards the future larger pets, I shared with them the joys and responsibilities of pet mice. Myself, having been the proud parent of three pet mice when I was elementary aged, before I later was blessed with the companionship of my doggy.
The children took to the idea of little pet mice right away and after a few weeks of thought, debate and evaluation (and checking our local shelters for rescued mice for adoption), we adopted our pet mice! And now let us introduce little Halley and Fasty (the children chose their names).
They are two little female (sisters) mice and are currently residing in a temporary enclosure until our larger one arrives (many supplies were not available due to covid).
Our Pet Mice Supplies
Now that we’ve had our mice for a while and from reading a lot of care guides, here are some supplies that we’ve settled on for Fasty & Halley for them to comfortably be part of the family.
ExoTerra Medium, Wide- 24”x 18”x 18”
- Size: just per the recommendations we read
- Big doors: Large doorway allow easy interaction, easy cleaning and bonding.
- Large removeable mesh roof: can hang toys using wires and easy to clean
- Deep Base: we can fill a couple inches of bedding to allow them to burrow
- Aesthetic: Instead of a cagey look, this looks very nice, especially against our glass windows
- Eco-friendly: made from recycled materials
- Burrow-friendly: holds it’s shape well so mice can make/maintain burrows
- Respiratory-friendly: dust-free, as mice as very sensitive to dust
- Easy-clean: just like cleaning up shredded paper, very easy to handle and no mess
- 3 colors: we tried the brown and blue colors and have settled on the blue
IKEA Kuggis 14″ w/lid x2
- We needed a stand for the ExoTerra
- Kid accessible: Wanted it low, so kids can access it and can interact while sitting on the floor
- Open & spacious feel: Keeping it below waist level gives the impression of more open-space/less clutter, despite it being rather large
- Clean & modern look
- Did not like the look of the ExoTerra and standard aquarium stands (too big, too black and makes the home feel too dark/dim)
CritterTrail Simple Start Habitat
- Portable small enclosure with the basics
- The only option at our local pet shop at the time
- Retired and used only for temporary transport/travel needs
- Comes with a water bottle and wheel (we don’t use the food bowl)
Small Rodent Villa
- They love this little house and use both stories of it
- Sometimes we add toilet tubes to give this villa some tunnels
- Got this at our local petshop on the first day. Now that we are home, any toilet tube will work.
- Save your toilet and paper towel tubes for this, no need to buy unless you need it in a pinch or like something larger than a toilet tube.
Kaytee Woodland Get-A-Way (4-1/2in Small Size)
Alfie Pet Bottle + Ceramic Stand
WARNING: The bottle that comes in this set is faulty. It was fortunate that I check their bottle twice a day and discovered that it doesn’t work. I spent a lot of time and did a lot of googling, and it really doesn’t work and has killed several pets already.
I tossed the bottle and put out a bowl of water until I bought a replacement from a different brand. However, I kept the ceramic base. I have replaced the bottle with a glass Oxbow bottle now that works perfectly, even though I still check twice a day.
So only purchase this if you want the ceramic base because I know how hard it is to find a bottle for a tank setup.
Yogurt Drops (Treat)
- Fun treat
- use sparingly
- other brands may be good too
- kids yogurt drops should work too
Small Pet Dried Fruits (Treat)
- dried and fresh fruit are good for them
- use sparingly
- other brands may be good too
- I use the rolled oats that we eat
- any oatmeal should be fine, as long as it’s not the instant kind that has sugar/spices premixed
- use occasionally
- this is lower fat than seeds/other snacks
Apple Orchard Sticks
- any apple sticks (not sprayed with pesticide) is good for their growing teeth
Whimzee Alligator or Toothbrush Chews
- Chewies that they LOVE
- nice alternative to apple sticks sometimes
Kaytee Ka-bob Dispenser
- Wooden chew + dispenser with good reviews
- My mice aren’t as interested though, they only chewed it a little
Ware 7 1/4″ Exercise wheel
- For a healthy spine, wheels should be 7-8″ diameter if vertical
- If wheel is horizontal, then consider your mice as a small wheel only one can run at a time. If your horizontal wheel is bigger then two or more mice can run together (which mine sometimes like to do)
- The base is mostly wide enough to sink slowly into the bedding, but now I am searching for something to put under the wheel so it will sink even slower
KayTee Toss & Learn
NiteAngel Suspension Bridge
NiteAngel Forest Tunnel
- Fun little tunnel they like to chew on
- an alternative to toilet tubes
NiteAngel Fun Balls
- They love these balls
- Good to stuff treats/hay inside
- They’ve chewed through all 3 now and I need to buy more
Metal craft wire
- Used for hanging toys to the roof of enclosures
- I’ve read people had issues hanging with an ExoTerra, but with this craft wire, I have had no problems.
Small Pet Ladder
- Initially used with the CritterTrail so they can enter/exit their enclosure freely during enrichment time
- Now used for enrichment and play time
- Mice don’t jump off tables, so we would let them leave their CritterTrail and explore the table with supervision to give them more roaming space until our larger enclosure arrived. The ladder lets them get in and out freely.
This list just gives you an idea of what we used, in case it’s helpful. Please try to shop local first before purchasing online.
Prior to getting pet mice, we also read/researched a lot of resources. Pet mice ownership has come a long ways since I had my little mice during my elementary years. So here is a list of our favorite pet mice resources that we feel are very good for prospective pet mice humans to look into:
- Fancy mice is just another term for feeder mice/storebought mice. This guide is a very good read and gives you the basics of understanding what sort of diet is good for them, what foods to avoid and how to properly care for them.
- Another good guide on mouse care
- This is also a good overview on pet mice. Worth a read.
- A good web post on handling and taming mice, though I do not recommend picking them up by the base of their tail.
- We really like Emiology pet videos. She treats her pets very humanely and considers their welfare. I’d like to feature her video here on how to bring mice home. (Please also see her video about whether pet mice is a good fit for you.)
- I also want to feature this video below, as an example of what not to do to animals, in general.
Pros & Cons of Pet Rodents with Kids: For anyone looking at this page, if you are considering adopting a small animal as a pet, please do your research ahead of time. Here is a good article to learn about the different species and their quirks.