Build a mouse cage yourself: Tips for the rodent paradise

If you want to build a mouse cage yourself, you have various options for creating a true paradise for your cute rodents that is tailored precisely to the needs of the little ones. You should heed the following tips.

"So, I'll come out of the bunkhouse and have a look around my mouse enclosure" – Shutterstock / Shcherbakov Ilya

“Okay, then I’ll come out of the bunkhouse and have a look around my mouse enclosure” – Shutterstock / Shcherbakov Ilya

Of course you can buy a mouse enclosure in pet shops, for example in the form of a terrarium. Unfortunately, the purchased rodent homes rarely meet all the requirements for animal-friendly living, so you are on the safe side if you build a mouse cage yourself. If you are technically skilled, you can do this yourself or have it done by a specialist company. Read what is important below.

The correct size of the mouse enclosure

There are different ways to house your mice. In any case, it is important that the mouse cage is large enough. The following applies: there is no such thing as too big. A minimum size of 80 (length) x 50 (width) x 50 (height) cubic centimeters must be given in any case – a length of at least one meter is better for your group of mice. An enclosure measuring 120 x 60 x 80 cubic centimeters is ideal for a family of ten mice.

Build a mouse cage yourself: Basic tips

Do-it-yourself construction with grids is a highly recommended construction. The mouse cage can be designed individually and according to your wishes. There is a good exchange of air and drinking bottles as well as shelves, hammocks and the like can be easily attached to the lattice walls. It is important that the bars of cages do not exceed a maximum distance of 0.8 centimeters – otherwise the agile rodents can squeeze through or get stuck between the wire and, in the worst case, suffocate. One possibility is close-meshed aviary wire, a galvanized and spot-welded grid with square meshes.

If you build a mouse enclosure yourself, you should make sure that you give the individual animals in the group of mice enough space to retreat. You can achieve this by building in several floors for the furry friends to build nests and run around on. The litter is generally also important, for example hemp litter, corn litter, flax litter or miscantus. Naturally, mice only feel comfortable if they can dig and dig a lot – so don’t skimp on the bedding.

What is this little mouse holding between its paws?  She seems to like it anyway - Shutterstock / Nature Art
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Avoid using toxic and sharp-edged materials and objects

The safety of your animals is our top priority. Do not use toxic substances in the mouse enclosure. Remember that mice, like hamsters or rats, will nibble on everything and could swallow plastic or silicone parts, for example. Only use non-toxic paints to protect the wooden parts of the cage from pet urine. Products approved for children’s room furnishings that do not emit any harmful vapors are good. Water-based paints are particularly gentle, as is any wood glue you use.

As far as the building material itself is concerned, it depends on the right wood. Avoid strongly resinous or smelling woods such as conifers. Wood from ash, birch, beech, alder, lime, walnut or willow is more suitable. Plywood and glued wood is too thin for the walls of the pens, but is great for building floors. You should generally avoid metal that is prone to rusting, as these are not good for mouse paws and create a bad climate. As far as the screws are concerned, you should use special wood screws and make sure that they never go all the way through the wood (risk of injury!). In general, it is important that there are no sharp edges or corners in the enclosure that the snub noses could injure themselves on.

You can find out how to set up your mouse cage in the guide: “Setting up a mouse cage: keeping rodents appropriate to the species”.

Digression: A terrarium or aquarium as a mouse cage – is that possible?

You can theoretically use a terrarium or a converted aquarium as a mouse enclosure. These have no disturbing bars, give a perfect view of the inside through the glass and litter cannot fall out when the burrowers dig. However, these types of enclosures have one major disadvantage: there is very poor air and heat exchange inside. A mouse terrarium or aquarium must therefore be either very large or very flat so that gases from breathing and ammonia (urine) in particular can escape. Moisture can also accumulate, which leads to mold growth.

Good ventilation is mandatory here, otherwise your pets could get health problems. Other disadvantages are that it is not always easy to attach a drinking bottle and the unwieldy nature of a glass case, which makes cleaning difficult. Tip: It is better if you replace the glass walls with mesh suitable for mice.

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