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A suitable environment for mice

Environment logo © RSPCA publications and brand 2010

 

Ensure your mice have a suitable place to live

 

Mouse peeping through a hole in a cardboard tube © iStockphoto

Mice need:

  • Appropriate nesting material. They’re highly motivated nest builders, using nesting material to help body temperature regulation. Don't give mice nesting materials that separate into thin strands, e.g. cotton wool or similar 'fluffy' bedding products. They pose a serious risk to their health and welfare, due to the possibility of entanglement or ingestion. RSPCA Nesting Material for Mice Factsheet (PDF 88.7KB).
     
  • Suitable bedding material. Mice need bedding material to dig/absorb moisture from urine/faeces. RSPCA Bedding Material For Mice Factsheet (PDF 90KB).
     
  • Suitable places to hide. Mice are a prey species; they’re highly motivated to stay near cover. RSPCA Shelters for Mice Factsheet (PDF 176KB).
     
  • A comfortable/dry/draught-free/clean home-cage in a quiet place to rest undisturbed.
     
  • A safe, secure, hazard-free environment.
     
  • An appropriate home-cage. Wild mice can have very large territories. Mice need sufficient space to display natural behaviours and give control/choice over their environment. Mice can squeeze through very small spaces and escape. RSPCA Home Cage For Mice Factsheet (PDF 92.9KB).
     
  • A clean cage with dry bedding/nesting material. Balance good health with avoiding excessive disturbance/stress when cleaning. RSPCA Cage Cleaning For Mice Factsheet (PDF 91.7KB).
     
  • Objects to be used as toilet areas or easily marked, allowing communication using odours, easily cleaned as part of the regular cage cleaning routine. Mice scent-mark with odour patterns to identify territory and communicate with others. Patterns of urine/secretions from other body glands are used to identify individuals/groups/social status.
     
  • Natural day light (not direct sunlight) where they are housed. Direct/bright lights should be avoided near the home-cage/during handling/playing.
     
  • A home-cage away from high pitched sounds/ultrasound/sudden bursts of noise, which they’re sensitive to. Mice can hear a broad frequency range. RSPCA Excessive Noise Factsheet (PDF 89.9KB).
     
  • The temperature/humidity of anywhere they’re housed to be appropriate. Mice are very sensitive to the effects of heat. RSPCA Temperature and Humidity Factsheet (PDF 89.4KB).
     
  • Cages with good ventilation/air circulation without being draughty. Poor ventilation/ high humidity can cause health problems.
     
  • Their cages checking morning and evening to ensure their water bottle nozzle hasn’t become blocked/wedged open and the cage flooded. Mice can build nests against the cage sides and push bedding into water bottle’s nozzles.
     
  • Enrichment. Running wheels can be provided but shouldn’t be the only enrichment. Wheels must be a solid structure and axel-free for their safety.