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Mice/Is an excercise ball a good toy for mice?


Dear Natasha,
I would really appreciate your advice. I have a 1 year-old male mouse and I would like to keep him happy and entertained (since he cannot have company). He has plenty of things to climb on and tunnels to go through, I always try to build him something new, since changes in environment seem to make him the happiest (he gets bored easily). He really likes his wheel and wheels all night, so I was thinking of buying an exercise ball to let him wheel around the room. But I'm not sure if that toy is actually good for mice and really makes them entertained? I mean, of course he might seem busy running around, but is it out of joy or out of panic because he is in a closed space that he cannot get out of till I let him out.I don't want to scare him or cause him stress.

Hi Thea,

Some mice like exercise balls and some hate them. Your guy sounds pretty adventurous so he certainly may like it.

The way I have been able to tell is to put the mouse in the ball and watch carefully. Any mouse will try to walk forward, and be confused at first.  A mouse that hates it will probably sit down after a while and look miserable, pooping or peeing. Simply washing whiskers for a short time is not miserable.

I have heard people claim that mice running in balls are panicking, and so I have thought about it very carefully. I had one mouse who  loved to make noise and would race down the long hallway crashing into the radiator along the way, and one might think that was panic. But she would also do other things; and come up to me completely calmly. She was happy. I think people who claim that are guessing.

I also had a pair who loved to run together. They were small, black and white, and crossed over each other as they ran at top speed, zooming around objects with incredible agility. It was a sight to see.

I am sure you know to block off anywhere, especially stairs, that could be dangerous; and keep any larger pets out. You must also watch. If a mouse who understands the ball gets stuck somewhere and can't move the ball, it will become very frustrated. The mouse who loved to make noise once got stuck at the bottom lip of a cabinet when I fell asleep for ten minutes, and that was enough to make her never want to go in her ball again.

Also get a clear plastic hamster-size ball. Clear, so he can see-- the colors are to make you want to buy the ball-- and hamster sized so he is not bending his back.

Let me know if he likes it!

Squeaks n giggles,



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I can answer questions about raising mice and caring for them as pets, with knowledge from my 38 years of having fancy mice as pets. I have NO MEDICAL TRAINING and you should take a sick mouse to the vet; but if you simply can't, I will try to help you. I LOVE PHOTOS!!! I ALSO LOVE UPDATES! Let me know how the little tyke is doing later on, for better or worse, especially orphans. It also helps me to help the next person. Please first search first: use 'Natasha Mice Mouse' with whatever else your question includes. Or check out these links: **** YOUR FIRST MOUSE (my video; rough draft): **** TEN VIDEOS ON RAISING ORPHANS: **** SEXING MICE: **** And some GREAT MOUSE INFO SITES:


I have had mice for 40 years (since I was 5!). I raised them when I was a child but now I keep all females, and never fewer than three so that if one dies the others are not devastated, because they have each other.

I run Rats and Mice are Awesome on Facebook. The official name is Rats are Awesome.

B.A., M.A., M.A. in Linguistics: Yale University and University of Connecticut

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