Mice are a great small pet as an alternative to a hamster or similar rodent. They are active and entertaining, easy to care for and although they can be quite fast moving, they tame well.
Habitat - Mice are active and energetic rodents that enjoy a lot of enrichment. In order to give them plenty of space it's preferable to give them as much space as possible. There is a large amount of housing available from pet stores. Cages designed for rats are also ideal for mice, as long as the bar spacing is not too wide. These allow for lots of climbing! You can also use modified glass tanks; but most mice will prefer climbing to burrowing and you need to ensure a glass tank has adequate ventilation.
I personally would recommend the Jenny Rat Cage for a group of mice.
Substrate - If using sawdust make sure that it is dust free and designed for mice as mice can suffer from respiratory problems. There are several paper-based substrates available in pet stores which are more suitable, or some people simply use shredded paper! You can also use bedding such as aspen or auboise.
Hide - Your mice will need somewhere to sleep. If your house gets quite warm, a ceramic plant pot will provide somewhere cool. They simply need somewhere enclosed and secure that they will feel safe sleeping in. You should provide nesting material for it and they will make their own bed inside.
Enrichment - Mice need as much enrichment as possible but luckily mice are quite easy to please! You can use just about anything from commercial bought rodent and bird toys, hammocks and nets, to branches, pebbles and rocks from your garden (sterilised), empty food tubs (with holes cut into them!), empty toilet roll tubes, pipes or rope from DIY stores and so on! Mice will also run on a wheel if provided.
Bathing - Like Chinchillas and some other rodents, mice will bath in sand. Providing a small dish of chinchilla sand will help them keep their coat clean.
Cleaning - How often you clean your cage will depend on how many mice and how big the cage is, but as a general rule, spot clean the cage regularly and clean out the substrate once a week.
Although you may think that a hamster diet is suitable for all small rodents, it actually contains a large number of peanuts and sunflower seeds which are high in fat. Hamsters have a significantly higher amount of body fat than mice and mice are prone to obesity in captivity if fed the wrong diet. A commercial rat mix is more suitable for mice.
Provide fresh fruit and vegetables such as apple, banana, tomato, broccoli, peas, carrots, sweetcorn and kale. A small amount of protein can be given and can include mealworms and crickets (live or dried), cheese and scrambled egg.
Do not feed your mice citrus products!
It's important to handle your mice if you want them to be tame and not afraid of humans. Some may start of shy and need a bit of work! To pick a mouse up, approach it from the front and place both hands around it, cuppping it gently. You simply need to be patient, offer treats and incentive for the mice to come to you, don't stress them out, make sudden movements or loud noises and they will get used to you and your home environment.
Try not to approach mice from above - this is what a predator would do!
Hopefully reading this has given you an idea of how to care for your fancy mice, but if you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to start a thread in our Small Pets section and get answers from helpful & friendly members on the forums! Once you get your mice, we'd love to see some pictures or hear your advice to other people.