Setting up a mouse cage: species-appropriate keeping of rodents

Keeping pet mice in a species-appropriate manner includes a beautiful mouse cage with several floors, on which the animals can let off steam to their heart’s content. Here you can find out what you need to consider when setting up the mouse cage.

This is how mice feel comfortable: safe shelter made of natural wood for hiding - Shutterstock / Martina Osmy

This is how mice feel comfortable: safe shelter made of natural wood for hiding – Shutterstock / Martina Osmy

Unfortunately, colored mice are very sensitive, so you have to be particularly careful when setting up the mouse cage. It is important that there is no moisture in the enclosure, that the litter is not dusty and that the little animals cannot injure themselves.

Correct bedding for the mouse cage

Dust can cause lung problems in pet mice, which are often life-threatening. In addition, the rodents are very sensitive to chemicals and like to gnaw at their litter. That’s why cat litter is completely unsuitable when you set up the mouse cage. Animals can swallow it and it will swell up in their stomachs, and it is often laced with intolerable chemicals that, while not harmful to the cat, will harm the much smaller and more vulnerable mice. A good litter for mice is absorbent and prevents odors.

On the other hand, fibrous bedding made from hemp, corn or flax as well as fine granules made from hardwoods such as aspen, birch or beech are well suited. Mice like to dig and sometimes build deep tunnels – so don’t be stingy with the litter. In addition, you can offer your mice a digging box with unfertilized soil or rounded quartz sand, temporarily during the run or permanently in very large enclosures, so that they can pursue their digging instinct there.

Nesting material for the mice to set up

Colored mice also like to be warm and cuddly. If they have enough nesting material to set up their own nests, they are happy. For example handkerchiefs, kitchen paper and toilet paper are suitable for this, as long as they are without additives and chemicals. In addition, dried herbs and leaves are very popular because they are not only a wonderful building material for mouse nests, but also taste good to rodents. You should only offer hay if it is fresh and of organic quality. Older or poor quality hay may contain mold. Green oats are also suitable as nesting material for keeping mice.

What is this little mouse holding between its paws?  She seems to like it anyway - Shutterstock / Nature Art
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Houses and caves important for keeping

Mice are prey animals and very sociable. Therefore, they need multiple options in their mouse cage to hide at all times. For this reason, they should have several houses, caves and other shelters to choose from. In their hiding places, the members of a group of mice like to snuggle up to each other; this should be taken into account when sizing.

In addition to special houses for the rodents from the specialist trade, discarded coconut shells and various tunnels, bridges, tubes and caves made of wood, cork or ceramics are possible. Branches, roots and twigs from fruit trees, willows and birches from nature decorate the mouse cage in a harmless way. However, make sure that they are clean and that there are no gaps in them for mice to get caught in and get trapped.

Find the right wheel for mice

A running wheel in the mouse cage is a wonderful addition so that the animals can fulfill their urge to move. However, not all commercially available wheels are suitable for them. In any case, the wheel must be big enough to accommodate the mouse in its full length and not have to bend it – otherwise the spine can be damaged. In addition, the tread should be continuous; if there are gaps in it, the mouse can slip with its paws and seriously injure itself. Also stay away from wire wheels with spokes on the sides. If your rodent sticks its head through it and the wheel turns, this can also have a bad ending.

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