The Fancy (decorative) mouse
Species: mus musculus
A fancy mouse is a domesticated form of a house mouse, usually bred as a pet. Fancy mice have been specially bred for exhibiting, with shows being held internationally.
Fancy mice are inexpensive compared to other larger pets, but they are also short-lived compared to other animals.
Artificial selection has created a wide variety of sizes, colors and coat types of mice. There are common, long haired, satin and curly mice. Some mice are unicolor, others have patterns.
There are black, chocolate, blue, white, cream, lilac, red, fawn, champagne, cinnamon, golden agouti, silver agouti, silver and dove mice. Bald mice also occur. So if you have decided to keep a mouse as a pet, you will find a breed for your taste.
Mice range in size: from 15 to 30 cm from nose to tail. An adult mouse weighs within the range from 30 to 50 g.
Mice are social animals, in the wild they live in groups. If you have only one pet, you will need to pay it much more attention. Otherwise the mouse will feel bored and lonely and will spend all the time in its hiding place. In order to avoid it, give to your mouse a lot of toys: small balls, wooden cubes etc. Before offering your mouse a toy, make sure it doesn’t have paint or varnish on it, they can harm your pet.
You can keep your mouse in a metal cage or in a glass tank with wide bottom and low walls. The enclosure should be closed with a net from above. When you choose the enclosure, don’t forget that mice can gnaw on wood and many other materials. Also they are capable of squeezing themselves in narrow cracks.
You should choose a spacious enclosure since mice are very active and need to move a lot. You can put on the bottom wood cuttings or stripes of plain white paper. Your pet will need a hiding place (a special house for rodents available at pet stores, a box, a pot etc), a ceramic food bowl and a water bowl and different toys. Shelves, ladders, branches, an exercise wheel – mice love all of them. The cage has to stand near the wall, far from heaters and open windows.
You should clean the cage daily, take away uneaten food and litter, wash the food and water bowls. The bedding needs to be changed several times a week. Mice are skittish and don’t get used to people easily. In the beginning you have to be prepared that your mouse will try to avoid interaction with you. Try to set the cage so that your pet can hide when it wants to. Once the mouse has adapted to its new home, it will leaving the hiding place more and more often.
When you feed your mouse, try to avoid abrupt movements that can scare your pet. In order for your mouse to get used to your voice, try to speak to it regularly in a low and soft voice. After a while your pet will start respond to its name. Mice have well-developed sense of smell, and they quickly get used to the smell of the person feeding them. Each time when you approach the mouse, it will greet you with glad squeak. Mice are easy to feed. They like grain: wheat, corn, oat, millet, barley. Sometimes you can give them some seeds, but not too many. Mice like cheese and the whites of boiled eggs.
You can give them as a treat some vegetables, fruit and bread. From time to time you should add to the mouse’s menu vitamins and mineral supplements.
In pet stores you can but special food mixes and treats for mice. Mice have high metabolism, so the food should be in their cages at all times. Also your rodent will need fruit tree branches in order to grind teeth.
Males tend to fight a lot. Mexican volcano mice are skittish. They hide in places that are hard to access. They are not easily trained animals.
Breast cancer often occurs in rats and mice, both in males and females. Many scientists believe that it appears due to genetic predisposition.
Mice can have various types of ectoparasies: Myobia musculi, Myopcoptes musculinus and Radfordia affinis. Ear mites often occur too. Sometimes mice can get gastritis and enteritis due to improper diet.
Under good care a fancy mouse lives from 18 to 30 months.