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Size: Extra Small
Lifespan: Very Short (Less than 3 years)
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If you're one of the many who have set traps in your home, or shuddered at the thought of a mouse scampering across your floor, you may be surprised to learn that mice actually make great pets. These tiny rodents are smaller than rats, entertaining, and relatively easy to care for, often making good starter pets for older children. If you're looking for a family pet that requires more watching than handling, mice are a good choice. But if you know your children are going to want to pick up and play with their pet (under your supervision, of course), a mouse's tiny size and speed may make doing so more difficult.

General Care

If you want more than one mouse, go with a pair of females. Male mice will fight with each other, unless they are introduced at an early age. And, while you can supplement their diet of fresh fruits and veggies with pellets designed for other rodents, don't give your mice your hamster's old wire cage. They can escape right through the bars! Consider a plastic carrier or glass aquarium. For bedding, use several inches of aspen shavings, rather than cedar or pine (they have been shown to have toxic effects on small animals), and be prepared to clean the cage completely once a week. But daily care is still necessary--whether it be refilling food pellets, providing supervised exercise, or removing droppings and uneaten food bits from the cage floor. As always, check with your veterinarian with any questions you have about the health or care of your mouse.

For more information about mouse ownership and care, check out the ASPCA.

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