Christmas Mice

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. My question is why is there a mouse in the house?

One can assume that mice and men have been connected for a very long time. Ever since we stopped being a nomadic species, mice have stayed with us. Once we started farming and especially once we started storing dry food, rodents caught on. While this situation might not have been ideal, it was probably foreseeable that someone would eventually catch one and start caring for it.

As early as 1100 B.C. in China, people started also noticing that not all mice were created equal. In that year they came up with a term for nontraditional colored mice. Then in 80 B.C. the Han Dynasty recorded dancing ‘yellow’ mice in their vernacular. From then until 1641 there was over 30 written accounts of wild white mice being taken from the wild to be cared for. In 1654 a Chinese Buddhist priest even took his two pet mice to Japan while visiting.

By the 1700’s the breeding of fancy mice had increased, like the prolific rodents they are.  In the late 1700’s a instructional book came out on how to breed different types of mice including, albino, black, black-eyed white, champagne, chocolate, lilac, and recessive spotting.

The first U.S. mouse club started in the 1950’s. Mice make good pets because of their few demands. They require minimal cleaning, feeding and caging. Glass aquariums with tight fitting lids are good for easy viewing. Lining the bottom with newspaper and placing rodent bedding on top, will lend itself to easy cleaning. Mice are quite active and will utilize different levels inside the enclosure.

Clay flower pots, tissue boxes, toilet paper tubes and a small Tupperware water bowl are cheap ways to accessorize your mouse’s house.  Wooden chew toys are essential for the well being of your rodent. Their incisors will be continuously growing and they will need a way to trim those teeth.

Rats like Christmas and enrichment too.

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Talking about mice husbandry requirements always seems funny, since they are considered vermin in so many places. They are truly cosmopolitan – they can live anywhere there is food and shelter.

Mice tend to social but be cautious of keeping multiples housed together. Pet stores are notorious for incorrectly sexing mice.  So do your research. Do you want two or twenty?

One of the coolest traits about choosing a mouse as a pet are the options. Fancy mice have been artificially bred to look unique. With many shapes, sizes, coats and colors, it is hard not to be able to come up with a mouse that tickles your fancy. There are literally hundreds of color patterns and variations.

Feeding mice is quite easy but feeding them properly is a little harder. A commercial diet made specifically for mice is easy and affordable. Laboratories use the fortified diets over the seed diets, so the mice can’t be choosy on which nutrients they are going to get. If you feed the seed based diets, feeding small enough portions for them to eat all of the seeds is preferred.

Fresh and dried vegetables and fruits will also be readily accepted. This makes training mice very easy. I can think of lots of games and behaviors that you could train with your mouse. The possibilities are endless, because of their agility and appetite. Another plus is that all the agility props can be made out of cardboard or free things laying around the house.  Typing in mice training in youtube will get you about 1300 videos. A video titled “Mouse agility – The world’s smartest mouse” has over 1.3 million views and while I do not know if this is the smartest mouse in the world, I do know that it is very impressive and makes me want to adopt a mouse and start training.

Visit Critter Companions for more pet husbandry and training ideas.

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