Mice are fuzzy, intelligent little critters that adore burrowing into your cozy home for shelter. Pet mice tend to look quite different from their wild cousins, but their overall traits and features are actually quite similar.
So my question- can wild mice also be kept as pets?
Pet mice have been bred for nearly 200 years and thus come in an array of colors, whereas wild mice only tend to be brownish-grey. Pet mice live up to 3 years; however, wild mice rarely live beyond 18 months. Pet mice and wild mice have similar life cycles and can produce 5 to 8 pups every 25 days!
Let’s see if there is really such a big difference between pet mice and wild mice.
Pet mice are commonly known as the “domesticated versions” of house mice. They are highly intelligent and active little creatures, each developing their own strong personality; therefore, making them wonderful pets!
Pet Mice Characteristics
Pet mice are 5 to 7 inches long, including their tail, and weigh up to 2 ounces. These tiny creatures, unfortunately, only live 1,5 years to 3 years old.
Pet mice have been bred as pets for nearly 200 years and look quite different from their wild cousins.
Pet mice have varying body and ear sizes with similar coat and tail colors. In addition, they have multiple coat types that come in a wide range of colors and markings, including white, cream, black, chocolate, lilac, red, champagne, cinnamon, silver, silver agouti, golden agouti, and dove.
Depending on its coat coloration, a pet mouse may have black or pink eyes.
If you’re keen on knowing what variety of pet mice you have, follow this like: https://www.animallama.com/mice/pet-mice-breeds-types/
Pet Mice Temperament
Pet mice are generally social animals that prefer living in groups.
A pair of females is the easiest to handle; however, larger female groups will also be fine if you provide enough cage space.
However, do not let male pairs live together unless they were littermates. This is because males are more aggressive and tend to often pick fights amongst each other.
Lastly, avoid keeping male and female pet mice together unless you want lots of babies in a concise amount of time!
Can I Pick up My Pet Mouse?
Pet mice that aren’t accustomed to handling may bite. However, most pet mice become tame relatively quickly (a food bride may help quicken the process!).
How to tame a pet mouse:
Pet Mice Life Cycle
From birth to death, mice live extremely fast lives.
At six weeks, female mice are sexually mature and can birth an average of 6 babies every 25 days till they die.
The baby mice, called pups, are born blind and hairless and are completely dependent on their mothers.
These highly dependent pups will fully develop ears at four days old and will have a full hair coat at ten days old. At 14 days old, their eyes are fully open, and after 21 days, they are weaned and ready to start searching for their own food and mates.
Pet Mice Diet
Pet mice need a rough average of 3 grams of food daily. Pet mice enjoy a diverse menu of pellets, vegetables, fruit, and even cereal. Pet mice also need constant access to fresh drinking water.
Have a look at the following article for a more detailed description of what pet mice eat:
Pet Mice Habitat
To house your mouse, the size of the cage will depend on how many mice you plan to keep together.
For a pair of females, a 2-foot square cage is a sufficient space. Note that mice prefer cages with levels as they like to climb.
Wire cages or glass aquariums are the types of cages for pet mice; note that aquariums will need a mesh lid. Try a wire cage with horizontal lining (it provides a lot of climbing opportunities).
Mice like to mark their territory and become distressed when their cages are cleaned and disinfected too frequently. Therefore, a good rule of thumb is always leaving a handful of old shavings in the cage after cleaning.
Pet mice universally adore tunnels and toys like cardboard boxes, ladders, cotton ropes, willow balls, or toilet paper tubes.
Watch this video for tips on how to build a cage for your pet mouse:
Wild mice are pretty hardy creatures that can live anywhere from a forest to a manufactured structure. Wild mice are also highly intelligent, curious, and playful rodents.
Wild Mice Characteristics
Wild mice tend to have white bellies with uniformly brown to grey coats with similar tail colors and black eyes. Wild mice also have less rounded ears than pet mice.
Wild mice are generally 2 to 7 inches long, including their tail, and weigh 1 to 2 ounces.
Wild mice rarely live to older than 12 to 18 months old.
Watch this video for 30 amazing facts about mice:
Wild Mice Temperament
Wild mice are very timid towards humans but tend to be highly sociable with other mice.
Wild Mice have behavioral traits, including exploration, boldness, and high activity. However, they also have prey-like personalities and predator foraging strategies and, therefore, tend to have more aggressive personality traits than pet mice.
Wild mice thrive in the company of their kind and often tend to nest together.
Never attempt to keep wild mice as pets- they can and will bite when provoked, and wild mice tend to carry numerous diseases.
Wild Mice Life Cycle
On average, a wild mouse can have over 60 babies a year!
Wild mice reach sexual maturity approximately at two months old.
Females go into heat for 4 or 5 days, and once impregnated, they give birth after 21 days. Thus, wild mice are prolific breeders and can have litters consisting of 5 to 8 baby mice, knows as pups.
The mice pups are born blind and hairless and are entirely dependent on their mothers. House mice are prolific breeders and can have up to six pups to a litter.
After two weeks, the babies develop thin fur and gain sight and mobility.
On average, a female wild mouse has at least 32 to 56 pups every year till death.
Life of mice growing up (day 1 to day 26):
Wild Mice Diet
Wild mice are opportunistic omnivores and will eat almost any kind of food they can find- both plant and animal-based food.
Wild mice tend to eat a wide variety of grains, seeds, corn, and other plant materials, as well as roaches, crickets, and other insects.
However, these critters have become so accustomed to human food; they will devour pretty much anything in your pantry, such as bread, rice, and pasta, cereals, to anything sweet.
Wild Mice Habitat
Wild mice are creatures of comfort! So when they spot a safe, secluded nook, they will want to create a cozy nest for themselves.
They will often recklessly gnaw through baseboards, sofas, under appliances, and chew through insulations and wires to create secluded nests for themselves and their babies.
There you have it – the difference between pet mice and wild mice.
To conclude, pet mice and wild mice have similar life cycles; however, pet mice live a tad longer.
Wild mice tend only to be greyish-brown; however, pet mice have a wide array of fun colors to choose from, like champagne, red, and lilac.
Lastly, do not try to keep wild mice as pets; they have numerous diseases and won’t think twice about giving you a good nip if you try to pick it up!
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. I have a wife and two children and love taking them to the zoo to see all the animals. I grew up with dogs and fish and now have two dogs and two cats. I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.