A pet mouse cage needs to be large and full of toys and enrichment. The floorspace of your cage is called its 'footprint' and for female mice height is more important whereas male mice prefer more horizontal space. A good rule for calculating how large a pet mouse cage needs to be is to double the numbers given on a UK-based rats cage calculator, as rat cages are fine for mice providing bar spacing is under 1cm.
Pet shops woefully underestimate the suitability and size requirements needed for mice so please do not be conned into buying tiny tanks or modular systems. Rotastak is not suitable for any rodent. For reasons why see our article on Why modular systems are bad for your pet.
Pet mouse Cage types
- Wire cages: these give excellent ventilation and are good for climbing. You can hang plenty of toys from various positions and can interact with your animal through the bars. They can be quite difficult to clean. They provide much better opportunities for taming and enrichment. Ensure bar spacing is 1cm or less to prevent escapees.
- Glass tanks: - needs work to allow climbing material and are much more difficult to interact with your mice as they will consider hands from above very predatory. Very easy to clean but have poor ventilation. Do not use these with the standard heavy lids for fish - a staple gun, some 1mm wide wire mesh and bits of wood can easily make a decent lid to allow more air to pass through.
- a RUB: - if you are taking in rescues or money is an issue a plastic storage box can be converted into a RUB container for rodents. You must mesh top and all sides to allow adequate ventilation and ensure you go for the larger sizes such as 50 or 64 litres.
Always go for the largest cage your budget can afford - second-hand cages come up frequently.
Substrate and bedding
Sawdust, or anything pine or cedar based should not be used since it can affect the lungs of mice and cause respiratory problems. Items such as Carefresh are quite good and absorbent, whilst still allowing space for burrowing. A cheaper alternative for this is to get a horse bedding such as MegaZorb.Other suitable substrates include Ectopetbed, bedexcel and finacard.
Hay is a good addition to a pet mouse setup since mice love chewing this and it also aids their digestion.
For bedding avoid the soft cotton-wool style as this can tangle mouse limbs, the recycled shreds of paper or strings are good for nesting. You can also buy cotton pods, that provide great fun for the mice as they have to chew through and release their own bedding.
Toys and Enrichment
See our article on Rodent Enrichment for more details on toys for your pet mouse setup.