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Mice/Feeder Mice


Recently I've taken an interest in getting a pet mouse, and so far I have all the materials. Well... Except for the food and the mouse. Since I'm paying for the entire thing myself (minus the cage, my parents paid 5 bucks for a 2'x1' wire cage) I need everything to be as cheap as possible. I went to the pet store closest to my house to look at prices, and they only had feeder mice. They are only $1.50 each so I was wondering if I can keep feeder mice as pets and how to tell if they are girls or boys.

PS - Do you think my cage would be big enough for 2 mice?

Hi Emily,

Yes, you absolutely can keep feeder mice as pets!  There is no difference between feeder mice and fancy mice except coat color.  They are the same species and frequently bred and raised the same (unless you are purchasing from a responsible breeder, who may be able to supply friendlier mice of a specific coat type, thanks to having the time to handle each pup by hand).  My first pet mice were feeders and they were wonderful!

You will be able to determine their gender by looking underneath their tails.  Females have little to no fur between their urogenital opening (where they pee) and their anus, so it looks kind of like a semicolon ; very close together.  A male mouse has a larger furred space between his urogenital opening and anus where the testicles are housed, so it will look like he has a pouch in between the two.  When lifted upward by the tail his testicles may disappear temporarily into his body, so the best way to see them is when he is perched on something like a food bowl.  In a mature male, the difference should be very obvious once you know what to look for!  Check out these links for pictures:

If males and females are housed together, there is a high possibility the females may become pregnant.  This could present a problem for your cage situation, as male offspring won't be able to live with mom or other females as of 4-5 weeks old.  If they are kept separated, then a small group of females (3-4) will be happiest together.  Otherwise, you may elect to get a male.  Boy mice are best kept alone as pets, since males tend to fight with each other and may even kill each other as they reach sexual maturity.  I tend to find that although they may produce a stronger smell than females, boy mice are a little more friendly with their owners, though every mouse is an individual and won't all behave the same.

The last thing I would caution is to be sure your new pet(s) cannot squeeze their head through the bars.  If their head can fit through, the rest of their body can, and then you may have a mouse on the run!  The bars are spaced differently for mice than for say rats or hamsters, so I just wanted to make sure you knew what to check for.

Congratulations on your new pet or pets, and welcome to the world of mice!  :)


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I can answer questions regarding mice as pets, mouse behavior, color and coat genetics, breeding techniques, and general health questions. I can help with caging and setup, nutrition, social issues, and what to do in most mouse emergencies (such as unplanned litters, injuries, fighting, etc.). I can also assist with questions pertaining to orphaned mouse pups, weaning litters, and questions of mating and birthing. I cannot answer questions about exotic or wild varieties of mice such as spiny or pygmy mice. *****FOR EMERGENCIES, anything requiring immediate medical intervention, PLEASE take your mouse to a professional veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator who works with mice as soon as possible! IMPORTANT RESOURCES: Raising Orphaned Mice: Orphaned Mice Videos: Natasha's Your First Mouse: General Mouse Help: Mouse Info and Exotic Breeds:


I have enjoyed the companionship of mice nonstop since 2004, and spent a year caring for them in a lab where I learned a great deal about their breeding, social needs, and health. I spent a few years breeding them, specifically working with albinos, marked mice, angora mice, and satins. My education never stopped - I am learning something new every day from current and well-established research thanks to the wonderful folks at the Jackson Laboratory, as well as from my wonderful mousey friends online. I also love learning from my terrific questioners here on AllExperts - you folks keep my passion for these amazing animals alive and well!

East Coast Mouse Association - expired, American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association - expired

Partial University for a B.S. in Microbiology, Partial University for a 2-year degree in Veterinary Technology (RVT cert), C.E. classes in pathogens, aseptic technique, genetics, and applications

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