Pet mice

My roomate is now the co-owner of two (illegal) white mice. She’s got a lot of questions left over from her Internet research, and I figured the sizable Rat Contingent here might help.

Major question is whether shredded newspaper is okay for bedding. Some sources said sure, some said the ink was dangerous. Her budget’s a bit limited, so she’d really prefer the newspapers.

Also, which materials are safe to put in with the mice? Would a closed glass bottle be all right?

Any tips in general?

Thank you,

Malleus, roommate, Sophie and Alba

Why a closed glass bottle?

I don’t know, folks are divided about how hazardous newsprint is to mice. I mean seriously, in the “urban wild” the critters live all their lives in environments which are far harsher. Nonetheless, some are concerned that the fumes from the newsprint will collect in the pen and cause them breathing stress, allergies, or worse.

Some say that cheap, unscented, un-lotioned, single-ply institutional-grade toilet paper is a good substitute - you know, like they use in schools, or workplaces. Our pet mouse tears it to shreds and builds cute nests out of it and seems to like it. However, we almost always by the special rodent litter from the store.

When I had mice, I’d get $2 towels from the thrift store, cut them in half, and line the bottom of the cage with those with a handful of tissues or shredded paper towels for burrowing and shredding purposes. The towels just got a turn in the wash once a week, and it never seemed to harm the girls any.

Toilet paper rolls, old shoe boxes, etc. make good toys for a mouse owner on a budget too.

When I had a parrot I asked around and was told that today’s ink in newspaper is made from vegetable extracts and are harmless. My parrot loved to shred newspaper and phone books.

I agree with the cheap toilet paper, my pet mice loved it. And toilet paper tubes… they spent many happy hours snoozing in them.

I never used newspaper, because I never had it handy. The bedding is relatively cheap tho. A little ‘igloo’ type house can be mead by taking a small butter or sour cream, etc. tub, cutting a rounded hole at the top, put the lid back on and sit it in the cage.

I miss my mice.

Illegal? I hope this isn’t some sorta sick bestiality thing.:eek:

We’re not supposed to have pets in the dorm. I have a feeling that The Powers That Be would be especially upset about mice or rats.

Re: the glass bottle. I asked Roommate this morning and she said, “What if they want to have fun sliding down it?”

Ah, so that’s the illegal part. After reading the sideways pistol thread, I thought you had gangsta mice!

I know you’re on a budget, but get them a hamster wheel if you can. They’ll love it, and will have much more fun with it than a water bottle.

I’d advise against the hamster wheel if she’s not supposed to have the mice. Every rodent wheel we’ve ever had has made a very distinctive squeaking sound when in use.

First thing I would suggest is to figure out the sex of your two pets. If you have a male and a female then you already have more than two mice.

We think they’re both female. Pet shop people have been known to make mistakes, so we’ll double check once they trust us enough to let us touch them.

For exercise, Roommate takes them out and puts them in an empty drawer with an old sweater. They seem to like it- apparently mice poop when they’re scared, and they haven’t left any droppings at all. They like racing through the sleeves and folds. Needless to say, they are very carefully mouse-sat during play time.

Roommate wants to know if there’s any way we could mark one of them to tell them apart. I was thinking some sort of vegetable dye- would that be safe? Would the mice mind?

We’ve only been socializing them for a day, but already they sniff our hands while they’re running around in the sweater. One stood up and sniffed my nose.

I have always used shredded office paper, since I have a ton of that around anyway. The ink on that is probably even more toxic than newsprint, but I think it’s bonded to the paper better. I really don’t think newsprint is all that bad for them. As someone pointed out, most papers are now using soy-based inks.

An exercise wheel really is a good investment. If you keep some mineral oil around, you should be able to keep any noise to a minimum. (Also, I have a theory that plastic bushings around the metal spoke in the center would eliminate all noise, but apparently building a better mouse wheel is not as compelling as building a better mouse trap).

If you can get a hold of empty toilet paper tubes or paper towel tubes, put those in the cage. The mice love them to play in, and they can shred them up when they’re done playing.

The newsprint may turn them gray, it tends to leak. It also turns to mush when it gets wet, unlike animal shavings like Carefresh, which is rather expensive but my absolute favorite bedding for rodents. A bag lasts forever, since it’s compacted really tightly into the package but fluffs up quite a lot when you take it out. Also, it keeps smells away, never gets mushy or dusty, and is nice and soft. Some people use fleece strips and wash them. Fleece is good because it doesn’t have strings for them to get stuck in, like other fabrics do.

Shredded brown paper, like paper grocery bags, works well, and is really fun for them to shred up even more and play around with.

IME, they’re more likely to drive themselves crazy trying to climb up it!

They do like to climb and run, so toys are good, of course. Small boxes arranged in interesting ways will be a hit - they can run around in them then chew them up.

You can get a Silent Spinner wheel for about $10 - $12 at most any pet store. It was worth the money for me, so I could sleep. My mice will run in that thing all hours of the night.

If you can’t afford a wheel, you can’t afford mice. Those little monsters gotta run. The silent wheels are simply awesome and worth every penny.

Spend some money on litter, your nose will thank you. Plus if your room doesn’t reek like rodentia, you’re less likely to get busted, eh? And a white washcloth every now and then will get shredded and turned into a happy little nest.

I truly had no previous knowledge of the “silent wheel”! The dwarf hamsters that use the critter wheel in our home are not in my room, but in 9YO mudgirl’s room. It doesn’t seem to bother her at all, so I haven’t investigated alternatives.

Yeah, the silent wheels are an idea whose time came 50 years ago, and we’re just now getting around to it. :stuck_out_tongue:

Silent wheels sound great. Where do I get one?

The girls are getting used to us. Today they were sniffing my hand, chewing on my fingers, and investingating my arm as a possible escape route. They love the sweater, and the toilet paper rolls, and the playground drawer. I’m also pretty sure I heard them purring.

Roommate has been having weird dreams about them.