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Creating a good home for mice

Every mouse deserves a good home where they can be healthy and happy. Here are our top tips for creating a great home for your pet mice.

close-up of mouse being held by a human hand © RSPCA

Mouse housing

Mice need a safe, secure, hazard-free home cage that's comfortable, dry, draught-free and clean, in a quiet place where they can rest undisturbed.

They'll need:

  • Plenty of space - wild mice can have very large territories, so pet mice need enough space to behave as they would in the wild and have some control and choice over their surroundings. Make sure their cage is escape-proof, as mice can squeeze through very small spaces!
  • Nesting material - mice are big nest builders and use nesting material to help them stay at a comfortable temperature. Don't give mice nesting materials that separate into thin strands, such as cotton wool or similar 'fluffy' bedding products, as they can get tangled in them and they aren't safe for them to eat.
  • Bedding material - mice need this to dig in and to absorb moisture from urine and faeces.      
  • Hiding places - mice are a prey species and prefer to stay near cover, so give them plenty of places to hide.      
  • Things to occupy them - you can give your mice running wheels, but these shouldn't be the only form of enrichment in their cage. Wheels should be a solid structure and axel-free.
  • Objects they can use as toilet areas or easily mark - mice scent-mark with odour patterns to identify territory and communicate with other mice. They use patterns of urine and secretions from other body glands to identify individuals, groups and social status. Placing objects they can use as toilet areas or scent mark easily allows them to do this, as well as being easy for you to clean as part of your regular cage-cleaning routine. 

Keeping your mice's home comfortable

Make sure your mice's home (and anywhere else they're left) is always comfortable for them by remembering to make sure it's:

  • Out of direct sunlight - they'll need natural daylight, but not direct sunlight. Don't put your mice's cage under direct or bright lights or use them when you're handling or playing with your mice.
  • Quiet - keep their cage away from high-pitched sounds, ultrasound and sudden bursts of noise, which they're sensitive to because they can hear a broad frequency range.
  • The right temperature and humidity - mice are very sensitive to the effects of heat.      
  • Well-ventilated without being draughty - poor ventilation and high humidity can cause health problems.     
  • Clean and dry - mice need a clean cage with dry bedding and nesting material, so try to balance keeping their cage clean with minimising disturbance and stress when cleaning. 

Finally, don't forget to check their cages morning and evening to make sure their water bottle nozzle hasn't got blocked or wedged open and the cage flooded. Mice can build nests against the cage sides and push bedding into the water bottle's nozzle.

Follow the links below to find out more about caring for your mice.

Find out more