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Mice are fascinating little creatures that captivate more and more animal lovers with their lively behavior and curiosity. Not only are they easy to care for, but they also make interesting and interactive pets. But which mouse species are best suited for home keeping? In this article, we take a look at the most popular mouse species that are suitable as pets. 

1. Fancy Mice: The Classic Among Pet Mice

2 brown mice in a wooden house
image: sipa – pixabay.com

Fancy mice (Mus musculus) are probably the most well-known and widespread pet mice. They are descendants of the wild house mouse and are available in a variety of colors and patterns. Fancy mice are very sociable and known for their curious and friendly nature. They are active, enjoy playing, and can build a close bond with their owners if they are handled regularly and gently. Moreover, fancy mice are surprisingly intelligent. They can learn simple tricks, navigate complicated mazes, and have a good memory. 

2. Dwarf Mice: Small but Mighty!

Dwarf mouse surrounded by daisies
image: JonathanRieder – pixabay.com

The African dwarf mouse (Mus minutoides), with a body length of about 5 to 7.5 centimeters, is one of the smallest mouse species and is known for its calm and gentle nature. It is less commonly found as a pet but is very popular due to its petite size and cute appearance. Dwarf mice have soft fur, usually in shades of light brown to yellowish, with a white underside. 

Dwarf mice are excellent climbers. Their long, prehensile tail and small but skilled paws allow them to navigate grass and small branches with astonishing dexterity and agility. They also display fascinating social behavior, making them interesting observation animals. 

3. Multimammate Mice: The Social Acrobats

Brown and white mouse on a white background
image: Kanashi – unsplash.com

Multimammate mice (Mastomys), an intriguing and lesser-known species among rodents kept as pets, originally hail from Africa. There, they inhabit a variety of environments, ranging from dry savannas to agricultural areas. This species of mouse is smaller than the typical house rats and features soft fur, which can vary in color from gray to brown. Their most distinctive trait, which also gives them their name, is the unusually high number of teats in females, potentially reaching up to 24.

Furthermore, multimammate mice are known for their curiosity and active nature. They enjoy exploring their surroundings and are quite entertaining to watch, particularly when playing and interacting with their fellow species. Consequently, due to their very sociable nature, they should be kept in groups, as they develop complex social structures in the wild. Additionally, multimammate mice possess impressive climbing abilities and therefore require a spacious enclosure with numerous climbing opportunities.

4. Gerbils: Robust and Entertaining 

brown gerbil on white background
image: Shutterbug75 – pixabay.com

Gerbils are robust and active rodents. They have a strong gnawing instinct and therefore require an enclosure that meets this need. The name “gerbil” actually comes from their characteristic behavior, as they are known for their high activity and their penchant for extensive running activities. This high activity makes them interesting and entertaining pets, but also requires an appropriate level of space and stimuli in the enclosure so they can move and behave according to their species. 

With gerbils, it is common to keep them in pairs, ideally if they are siblings or have grown up together from a young age. Gerbils form strong social bonds and can suffer stress if they are isolated. Introducing adult gerbils can be difficult and should be done with caution and under supervision. 

Who are Mice Suitable For as Pets? 

Mice are ideal for animal lovers who are looking for an easy-to-care-for but interactive pet. They are particularly suitable for people who enjoy watching and interacting with their animals without the need for constant physical contact. Mice are also great first pets for older children learning to take responsibility. Similarly, guinea pigs also make great pets, especially if you’re looking for an animal that is sociable and active, yet not as inclined to climb as mice. Guinea pigs can also develop deep bonds with their owners and offer a wonderful alternative for those who may prefer a slightly larger pet. If you want to learn more about guinea pigs, follow this link: A Guinea Pig as a New Friend: Your Checklist for Acquisition.

Group Housing: A Must for Social Animals

Mice are very social animals and should never be kept alone. The best constellation is keeping them in same-sex groups to avoid unwanted offspring. Groups of females tend to get along very well. Males can also be kept in groups, but only if they have grown up together from a young age and the enclosure is large enough and properly structured to prevent conflicts. In males, castration can be useful to reduce aggression. 

Conclusion

Whether you choose fancy mice, dwarf mice, gerbils, or multimammate mice, each mouse species has its own unique characteristics and needs. First and foremost, it’s important to consider the care, social needs, and space requirements before acquiring them. Moreover, with the right care and a lot of love, mice become fascinating and enriching pets for your home. In conclusion, these considerations are crucial for ensuring a healthy and happy environment for your new pet.

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