Regardless of whether you choose a pet mouse from a rescue, a breeder or a pet shop, there are certain things you should always look out for.
- The animals should be alert and healthy-looking, with no breathing problems, sneezing, injuries, scabs or scratching, weeping eyes or diarrhoea, with a full, healthy coat and bright eyes.
- The enclosure should be suitable, that is, not overcrowded, with ample hideaways and clean food and water, the area should be relatively clean of waste and should not smell too much. Check what type of litter they’re being kept on (more info on this here).
- The mice should be kept separated by sex (if they’re not, females will likely be pregnant) – in some places, not separating males and females is actually against the law, so this is important.
- Ask whether they sell the mice for snake food – if they do, it tells you they probably won’t put a lot of care into keeping them happy and healthy.
- Ask about the history of the mouse – where did it come from? Do they know anything about the parents? If so, were they healthy and long-lived? How old is it? If female, was it separated from its brothers by 5 weeks old, to ensure it is not pregnant? If it is from a breeder, does it have a pedigree?
- And finally – perhaps most importantly – make sure you handle the mouse before purchasing it. The most beautiful, healthy mouse is the world will do you no good as a pet if it is not friendly.