The best way to describe an omnivore is this: an animal that eats everything, both plants and flesh. And that’s what mice are – rodent omnivores, just like their rat cousins. The diet of a mouse has its basis on fruits and seeds, but mice find pleasure in eating meat, arachnids, and insects – anything nutritious which they can pick with their filthy paws and push into their tiny mouths. However, they are not big fans of dairy products, so the cheese is not on the table for mice.
Mice And What They Eat
While many people associate mice with the eating of cheese, research has it that a mouse’s diet requires more than that for the critter to have optimal health. Since mice are omnivores, it is essential that they get a variety of nutrients in their meals. By giving your pet rodent a proper diet, you will be guaranteeing their longevity and making their life a wholesome experience.
The General Guidelines On Mouse Food
It is very typical to find mice food advertised as feeds for other rodents, including hamsters, gerbils, and rats. While rodents have similar dietary needs, a general rodent pet food package is not the perfect item to give to a mouse. While browsing the food shelves, here are the ingredients that you should look for when you’re studying the nutritional information of the mouse food:
1. Rat Or Mouse Pellets – originally, these food items were designed for lab rats and mice. They usually contain the necessary minerals, proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients of the essence. The rodent pellets are typically brown, toughened blocks that come in a rectangular shape. Since it is crucial to keep a mouse’s teeth trim, you should go for pellets because they effectively assist that area. Apart from the teeth trimming business, rodents also provide a lot of nutrition to help the rodents stay healthy.
2. Fruits – mice can eat, and they enjoy some fruits such as pears, apples, peaches, melons, bananas, oranges, plums, and berries, among others.
3. Veggie – there are many veggie options that you can feed your mouse, and they include: broccoli, endive, cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, parsley, corn, celery, peas, beans, tomatoes, and other Asian greens.
You need to know that there is a remarkable difference between minimal dietary needs and optimal nutritional requirements. So, whatever diet is recommended for a lab mouse or rat is not what a pet mouse would benefit from wholesomely. Unfortunately, there is very little research to explain how the dieting program of mice should go. Whatever has been done is short-lived and does not provide information on how to improve a mouse’s longevity through dieting. The current research provides the following recommendations:
|Nutritional Recommendations For Mice (Per Kilogram Of Food)|
|Nutrient (Minerals etc.)||Quantity|
Although unmentioned in the table above, research also notes other vitamins and nutrients. Of importance is that the fat content of the mouse’s food should be in the region of 5%, which is the same as that of a rat.
Seed mixes (for rodents) are routinely sold and used for mice feeding. However, a mouse will always pick out its favorite food items and leave all the other foods not eaten. The seed mixes often contain blocks or pellets and dried vegetables and fruit in them. Since the seeds are tastier and appealing to the mouse, the critter will pick out its favorite food items. This is why the mixes are not recommended for the pet mice. The advice is that the mixtures should only be used as treats.
Apart from the food, it is vital to provide the mouse with a constant supply of water. While some of the vegetables and fruits will offer some form of hydration, it is essential to have a dripping bottle or a water bowl near the mouse.
When And How Much To Feed A Pet Mouse
There is a problematic feeding style that many mouse owners take up. Many owners usually fill the mouse’s bowl with food and refill when they see fit. What should instead be done is this: a small plate or bowl having fresh food should be offered daily. When the day passes, and there is still some uneaten food (mostly the veggies and the fruits), everything should be discarded. This will save your mouse from eating stale or spoiled food. In addition to a small number of vegetables and fruit pieces, you should also give a small handful of pellets or a few large blocks. That will be ample food for a day’s consumption.
Let your mouse have a varied diet and do some rotations regarding the new food types it eats. From time to time, offer an occasional treat of seeds, crackers, and cereal. These will go a long way in helping the mouse, especially if you’re hand taming it. However, the treat should not be above 10 percent of the mouse’s daily diet.
Research has it that a typical adult mouse (male) consumes about 3.5 to 4 grams of food (around the same weight as that of a teaspoon of sugar). On top of that, the same mouse consumes around 100 calories per day. However, these research details are subject to change depending on the mouse’s genetic makeup, its activity level, and the food that you feed it. If your mouse is a female that’s either nursing, pregnant, or still growing, its food needs are likely to go up.
What Should You Avoid Feeding Your Mouse?
Even though a mouse can eat anything and everything it comes across, some foods are not ideal for mousy consumption. While foods that are high in sugar and fat are popular with mice, they may prove counterproductive as they can react awfully. Some of the foods you shouldn’t feed mice include cookies, chocolate, peanut butter, candy, and bacon. Others that should be avoided include bread and cooked pasta.
Mousy Facts And Other Questions
In the previous sections and sub-sections, the question ‘Are mice omnivores?’ has been expanded into a discussion on the nutritional requirements of mice. In this section, we take a turn and focus on the animal and its nuances. In the Rodentia order, mice are arguably the smallest members. Apart from being miniature critters, mice are also entertaining and funny to observe. Mice are busy-bodies and like to scuttle around, making inquiries of their surroundings. A pet mouse may choose to sit on your hand so that it explores the environment.
Mice are relative of rats since they are both of the Muridae family. In terms of length, mice can go up to 20 centimeters, that is, including their tails. They usually weigh between 30 and 60 grams.
Another characteristic of mice is that they can crawl very fast. It is known that mice can reach a speed of 12 kilometers an hour (around 7.5 miles). The life expectancy of a mouse is between 2 and 3 years. Mice usually come in a variety of colors, not just white, grey, and brown. Actually, mice are in over 50 shades and colors.
The name of a baby mouse is a pinkie since the entire letter looks pink when it is born. Like other rodents, a male rat is a buck while a female is a doe. When does get to their 6th – 8th week of living, they achieve sexual maturity, where they can start producing babies. When the does get pregnant, their gestation periods last for around 20 days. When delivering, they give birth to about 5 – 6 babies. If you are keeping a mice couple in a cage, take care not to be over-run by baby mice. Ensure that you keep the females and males in separate cages.
Mice are not usually very keen so at to jump off vertical drops. If you decide to play with your mouse by making them crawl, ensure that you take a lot of caution. Also, offer your pet mouse a small animal toy because they will feel delighted.
The habitat of a wild mouse is usually in a burrow, at a field, or in a nest. Because of seeking food, these mice make their way into buildings and homes. If you see mice running through your furniture and around the house, remain calm and do not be alarmed. Screaming will only make the mice to feel more frightened.
The best indicator that you have an uninvited mouse in your house is probably a hole in your skirting board. If there are no electric wires near the point of invasion, remain calm. To ascertain that the mouse is really there, try and leave a piece of bread in the hole. The mouse could just be sojourning in your place because it wants to avoid the winter’s cold.
How Mice Behave In The Wild
As is with other animals, wild mice are incredibly territorial, and the buck usually has a larger space than a doe. Among mice, it is common for females to have her little territory inside that of the male. A male can have a couple of female mice within her space. Also, bucks are allowed to make visits to the female areas whenever they please.
While bucks will be friendly and calm towards does, the relationship between bucks gets a little heated up. A buck will see another buck as a threat to its space. So, it will enter into the defensive mode to guard its area well. The mouse will chase its fellow male mouse out. This also applies to female mice.
How Mice Behave In Captivity
Mice that are in captivity, that is, those which are either kept domestically, for breeding, or as pets, show slight changes in their behavior. This is as compared to their wild counterparts. Doe rats are actually more friendly to their counterparts in captivity than they are in the wild. If you choose to have many female mice hutched up together, you will not see any of them exerting any aggressive form of behavior. Actually, if two female mice (in captivity) would give birth simultaneously, they will gather their babies together in a heap. Then, they would share responsibilities of caring for and feeding the ‘conjoined’ litter.
Male mice are not any different in captivity as they are in the wild. In hutches under human roofs, a male mouse takes every chance to show a territorial behavior. So, it won’t be a good idea to put two bucks together. However, the rodents are exceptionally social and need a lot of company. So, the lives of the male mice will be happier if they got paired with a female.
The one behavioral pattern that pitches wild male mice against their counterparts in captivity is their paternal instincts. While captive bucks will take part in rearing their young, the wild ones will not. Actually, the male captive mice will lay on the heap of kits to give them warmth when the female is resting or eating. This cute paternal move has not been exhibited by the wild ones.
Do Mice Ever Get Lonely?
Actually, mice, like rabbits, do get lonely. Mice are social rodents and like to stay in pairs. So, it is better to couple up a male and a female mouse. You can try keeping two male mice together in one hutch to see if they will accommodate each other. A mouse that becomes lonely is going to be affected in terms of health. If you decide to pair a male and female, you should be ready to bear the consequences since the female will get pregnant every three weeks. This could create a mice overpopulation that you don’t want.
Penning Off: Mousy Classification Details
It is time to pen off, and what better way than to teach you a little taxonomy, don’t you think? Here follows a table showing the taxonomical classification of the mouse (according to the ITIS, The Integrated Taxonomic Information System):
|The Taxonomic Classification Of A Mouse|
|Genera and Species||They are hundreds of them, but the house mouse is the Mus musculus|