If you are new to owning mice you will need to know what to put in a mouse cage to make their lives as happy as possible. Setting up a mice cage is not complicated, there are just a few staple essentials. Then there is room for some creative freedom and you can try out some different things to keep the environment interesting.
In this article I will break down all the essential items you need and give you some options to choose from. As well as giving you some ideas and examples of what other people have done to create some really fantastic and interesting environments for their mice.
I have covered the different types of bedding in detail before. While there are a lot of different options on the market it doesn’t need to be confusing. Stay away from wood shavings and sawdust. These are some of the first things new owners think of, but these in particular can be harmful to mice.
It’s the phenol’s and dust that’s too small to see with our naked eye that is the main issue. It causes respiratory problems for mice, and can be potentially lethal. So please stay away from wood based bedding, it’s just not worth the risk.
Also think about mice and their tidy feet and claws. Don’t use old rags and cotton wool, these materials are known to get caught up around their claws and can cause an injury. Shredded paper makes the best bedding, it’s simple, easy, doesn’t cost much and they will be perfectly happy with it.
Toys and Furniture
Mice are naturally curious and active animals. You will see them running around and investigating every corner of their cages. So giving them plenty to investigate and do will keep them happy.
Let’s start with the essential pieces of furniture you need, which are:
A solid house to sleep in
An exercise wheel
Tubes to play with
Something to chew on
Food Bowls and Water Bottles
Food and water is easy to take care of, but of course absolutely essential. Water bottles work best. You can try and use a water bowl but you will find that mice top it over or throw lots of bedding into the water on a regular basis.
Food bowls need to be large enough to hold enough food for a couple of days. They should be made from material that cannot be chewed or flipped over. Mice will chew on anything that is chewable, always bare this in mind when kiting out their cage.
A House to Sleep In
Next you need to put a small house in there for the mice to sleep in. This doesn’t need to be too big, and several mice will happily snuggle in together and share some body warmth.
There are countless small rodent houses on the market. So have some fun looking and choosing one that suits the overall look you’re going for. It’s fun watching mice gathering bedding materials together and putting it in their houses. They will make a nice comfortable, warm place to sleep.
Keep in mind that their house needs to be durable and heavy enough not to be thrown around. While being made of a material that will not absorb moisture or it will become smelly pretty quickly.
An Exercise Wheel
An exercise wheel is another essential item. Mice have a lot of energy to burn off and need somewhere to do this. A wheel provides a space saving option and an easy way to exercise. They are pretty iconic when it comes to a mice or rat cage, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
There are loads to choose from but safety comes first. Find a wheel that is safe and large enough for the size of mice you have. You may want to choose a silent wheel too, mice are more active at night than the day and the constant squeaking could become annoying.
Tubes to Play With
I like using tubes in mice cages. They are easy to come by for free if you use the inside of a toilet roll or some other roll of material. Mice absolutely love running through tubes, chewing on them, and hiding or sleeping in them.
Something to Chew On
Mice teeth are always growing and they need toys to chew on to manage their growth. I recommend picking up a couple of durable chewy toys and placing them in their cage. Not only does this help their health, it deters them from chewing on things you don’t want them to ruin.
There are lots of things you can do to liven up their cage and make it more interesting for your mice. Here are a few ideas to get your started:
Ropes and rope bridges for them to climb and balance on
Small boxes to hide in and chew on
Wire meshing to climb on
Sticks and branches as decoration and items to climb on
The list is endless. As long as the items you put into their cage is free of chemicals and pesticides, as well as being odor-free, your mice will get some enjoyment from them. Keeping their living environment fresh and new looking keeps them interested and mentally stimulated.
If you have any other ideas of what to put in a mouse cage to keep your mice interested, please share in the comments below.
I have kept pet mice for a number of years and always had a fascination with these interesting, fun little creatures.
I'm always looking for new and interesting mice related information and will always help other mice owners where possible.