Mice are pets, not pests

Despite their reputation as nuisances, mice make amazing companion animals for their owners.


by Iris Roddy, Writer

The first time I placed my mice in their new home — a 10 gallon aquarium tank equipped with a water bottle, food dish, tunnel, little hut and an exercise wheel — they were simply ecstatic. The first thing they did was to check it all out, going over every inch before converging at the wheel where they ran side by side before heading off to nest. At that time, I had no idea they would have such a positive effect on me. Whether it’s watching them tunnel through bedding, hog the exercise wheel or munch on their favorite strawberry yogurt treats, Ginger and Rosemary never fail to put a smile on my face. 

Many people see rodents as mean, disease-ridden pests, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Each one is different — they have their own personalities, likes and dislikes and are remarkably similar to dogs. But unlike dogs, mice do not require walking or constant attention and, as an added bonus, they don’t destroy your shoes or furniture!

Mice also love to play and are very active. They like exploring and really enjoy challenging games like mazes. Something as simple as a couple tissues, toilet paper roll or egg carton can become a fascinating toy for your mice to move, chew and play with. 

It might not appear so, but watching your mice do all these activities can be not only entertaining but also relaxing after a long, stressful day. When mice are awake they are constantly up to something, whether it’s frantically running on the wheel, hopping up and down ladders or burrowing through the bedding to create surprisingly complex tunnel networks. For me, taking time to simply watch them do what mice do (mainly play, eat, clean and exercise) is relaxing and even amusing. Having my mice to care for has also motivated me to remain calm and stay positive during the COVID-19 pandemic. I get to spend some of my time playing with and caring for cute little creatures, which has really helped me to find balance.

Contrary to popular belief, mice are quite tidy fellows. They love grooming themselves and each other, and will likely move things around in their cage if they’re able, according to their preferences.

Mice require little space, food and care in general, making them relatively cheap to get and maintain. According to the Animal Humane Society, up to four mice can be kept in only a 10 gallon aquarium with a wire or mesh cover. On a daily basis their home should be spot-cleaned and the food and water changed, with the whole cage being thoroughly scrubbed about once a week. In comparison to other pets, mice are pretty low-maintenance.

Mice also generally get along well in their social groups, so even if you sometimes have little time to spend with them after cleaning, they have their own companions so they won’t get lonely.

But like any species, not all mice will make perfect pets; it really just depends on their background and type (Fancy Mice are specifically bred to be companion animals, and Feeder Mice are meant to be snake food).Still, despite what many people think, mice do make great companion animals and family pets; they’re clean, energetic, entertaining and very intelligent. My mice have really helped me to destress and take time to relax by caring for them, and people looking for pets should definitely give mice a try.