Rats and Mice Essentials For First Time Owners

What to buy for Rats and Mice?

Bedding

Avoid any bedding made from softwood, as well as cedar shavings, spruce shavings, birch shavings and pine shavings. Instead, choose paper-based cat litters, shredded paper, paper towel, non-clumping corn cob litter, or aspen shavings if you must use wood. Sometimes litter gets swallowed, and clumping litter expands in the stomach, so avoid this as you would do for kittens.

Food

As rodents, your rat or mouse will have teeth that are constantly growing and will, therefore, need something tough and durable to chew on. Toys designed for parrots are ideal for your pet to gnaw on and wear their teeth down. For food, grain mix with fresh fruit, vegetables, cereal, etc, is a great healthy option for your rat or mice. Rats and mice will even enjoy a treat of dog biscuit a couple of times a week, as it helps to keep their teeth down too.

Hutch

For your rat or mouse, you should choose either a cage or an aquarium tank. Wire cages with solid floors are best, as they prevent them from escaping. A cage designed for a ferret or a guinea pig will be the right size if the top is enclosed, as rats and mice can climb very well and they are intelligent. If you choose a fish tank, be sure the screen cover attaches securely. Also, be sure to clean it thoroughly a few times a week, as glass tanks don’t have good ventilation - ammonia build-up from your rat’s urine will make a tank a very unhealthy and smelly place in just a few days. 

Carrier

To transport your mouse and rat, you’ll need a carrier. This is ideal for trips to the vets, moving house or even just to place them inside whilst you clean their cage. Your carrier should be large enough for your pet to move around in, with plenty of ventilation and some bedding at the bottom for comfort.

Grooming

Your rat or mouse will be very self-sufficient at cleaning themselves, and you’ll only need to step in to help if they are too unwell to do it themselves. Add a few drops of baby or kitten pet shampoo to a shallow basin of warm water and gently sponge-bathe them, then towel-dry them carefully and offer a few treats.

Toys

Mice and rats are very active creatures, and will, therefore, enjoy toys which encourage exercise. Toys like boxes and tubes are fun for your mouse or rat to climb in and out of, whilst exercise wheels are ideal for most rodents. If your pet does enjoy their wheel, make sure it is large enough for them to use without bending their back, and always pick a solid plastic wheel to prevent their feet or tail getting caught in it.


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