Wherever you live in the world, you are bound to encounter a mouse in your home or around your property at some point; it’s only inevitable. But can you take them in? Is it recommended to keep a wild mouse as a pet and is this another approach to visiting your local pet store and getting one there? This is what you should know.
So, can you keep a wild mouse as a pet? It may be possible to keep a wild mouse as a pet, although it is not generally recommended and only should be done if certain conditions are met. For instance, it is strongly advised that you get them examined by a vet; wild mice often carry diseases that may be able to be transmitted to humans and other animals.
Reasons for wanting to take in a wild mouse can vary, and let’s be honest – mice are cute!
Some may even be in need of some support and assistance; especially if injured.
But, you must consider that mice are incontinent and they can carry infectious diseases.
So if you plan to tame a wild mouse, you really do need to be careful and mindful.
You should only capture them if, and when, they are fully covered in fur, but their eyes should still be closed.
This will ensure that they are young enough to tame, yet independent enough to feed and survive outside of the close care of their mothers.
Then there are considerations you need to take into account too; like where you will put them and if you are able to meet their needs and ongoing care.
For instance, do you have a sufficient container with sufficient room for them to move around in
An aquarium would be ideal for your mouse as it has lots of room for exercise and running around.
You must get suitable bedding for your new rodent; they will also need sticks to chew on as their teeth grow continuously – this is true of all rodents – whether wild or domestically kept.
So with this all in mind, let us now take a closer look at the topic and run through some of the most commonly asked questions; such as whether they are safe to keep, the diseases they can carry, and some recommendations if you did decide to take one in.
Is It Safe To Keep A Wild Mouse As A Pet?
It may be safe to keep a wild mouse as a pet, where younger mice are less likely to carry and have been exposed to harmful bacteria and disease. Of course, it is still possible and you must remain vigilant.
It is inconceivable to tame an adult mouse, and they will likely be aggressive and bite if you try to touch them.
Also, adult mice are more heavily ridden in diseases that can make you and anyone living in your household very sick.
Even if you caught a very passive adult mouse, they will not be happy living in a cage. They would be too used to living in the wild and being able to do as they pleased.
If you decide to house more than one wild mouse, you must ensure to keep mice of the same sex together; most people prefer to keep only females.
Males need to be kept away from each other as they tend to fight.
Two females in one container get along very well as they are social creatures.
Make sure you change the bedding frequently because mouse urine is quite unpleasant, and you don’t want that smell lingering in your home.
Do All Wild Mice Carry Diseases?
The majority of wild mice will carry diseases, they scamper about in woodlands, parks, fields, backyards, and they live around dirt.
Some of these diseases can be passed on to humans, and some are very harmful.
This is why proper hygienic practices are so important when holding any mouse.
This is true of even pet mice; who can carry diseases too.
While it is unlikely in a pet mouse purchased from a pet store, the possibility is still there.
While wild mice may not carry all of the diseases below, it is important to be aware of them.
So, let’s discuss the main diseases they are known to carry:
Hantavirus is spread to humans by having direct contact with rodents, their feces, urine, or by breathing in dust that was soiled by rodents.
Hantavirus infection can cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome – which is a very severe respiratory disease; it can be fatal.
This is a bacterium that can be transmitted to humans when soil or water contaminated by the semen and urine of wild mice comes into contact with the eyes.
It can also be passed through eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
If leptospirosis isn’t treated, it can lead to kidney failure, meningitis, liver damage, respiratory illness, and death.
This is a microscopic bacterium that can be transmitted to humans through contact with mouse or rodent feces.
Still, usually, the consumption of contaminated food and water, often presents as a bad case of gastroenteritis.
Healthy people recover without treatment; in some cases, it can be so severe that hospitalization is required. It can be fatal if salmonellosis spreads to the bloodstream and internal organs unchecked.
LCM spreads to humans via contact with infected mice and rodents, their urine, feces, or by inhaling dust contaminated by urine and feces.
This viral infection manifests as aseptic meningitis or encephalitis. Illnesses related to LCM are rarely fatal, but hospitalization is always required.
Wild mice often harbor fleas, and fleas are vectors of murine typhus – a bacterial infection.
Murine typhus is treatable with antibiotics; however, it can be fatal for the elderly or individuals with compromised immune systems.
Humans become infected with this disease by handling infected mice or their carcasses, through the bite of an infected fly or tick, consuming contaminated food or water, or by inhaling airborne bacteria.
When francisella tularenisis enters the body of an individual, it becomes a disease known as tularemia.
This disease can be life-threatening, but it can be successfully treated in most cases.
Wild mice often carry deer ticks – known vectors of the bacterium Borrelia burgdoferi, which causes Lyme disease.
This disease is usually treated with antibiotics. Borrelia burgdoferi can lead to joint disease, heart rhythm irregularities, cognitive dysfunction, and neurological disorders.
As you can see, a lot of the diseases range in order of their danger to humans.
Transmission mostly occurs by coming into contact with feces, urine or the inhalation of dust.
Therefore, it is possible, with proper equipment and practices to handle and take in a wild mouse.
How Do You Take Care Of A Wild Mouse?
If you do decide to take care of a wild mouse; there will be supplies in which you will need.
You will need a container large enough for your mouse to be able to comfortably run around.
This is the kind to get off Amazon which will also prevent escape.
Secondly, you will need bedding to absorb urine and feces.
Wood shavings are best, and it is advised to avoid using pine or cedar wood shavings as they contain oils and fumes that are harmful to rodents.
You should feed a small mouse milk using an eyedropper, providing a solution constituted of milk and melted cheese.
Your mouse will need food and water every day. Always put a shallow dish in an accessible spot in the tank.
Hides provide a safe place for your mouse; you can use a cardboard box and place it in the corner of the tank.
Your mouse will need sticks to chew on as their teeth continuously grow.
Find a thick stable branch from their natural surroundings and put it in their cage.
Never use a branch that’s been treated with pesticides as it could harm your mouse.
Sanitize your mouse’s tank at least once a week.
Take your mouse out of the cage and place them in a different plastic container as you clean out their tank, keep in mind that mice can jump out their enclosure if it’s not high enough.
Make sure that the box you put them in is about 6 inches deep. Remove all the bedding and wipe down the tank with soapy water.
When you are finished, put fresh bedding in the tank and put your mice back in the tank.
You should always remove bedding that is soaked in urine to prevent the enclosure from smelling.
Refill food and water when they start to run low. Always check the food and water levels in the enclosure to make sure that they aren’t rotting.
Refill containers immediately when you notice that they are empty as mice need a constant supply of food and water.
Mice need treats, especially when you are in the process of training them. Simply put on your gloves and hold the goodies in between your fingers.
Allow the mouse to come near the treat and take to them out of your hands. You can give your mouse a treat once or twice a week – it will help to calm them down.
Consider the following list of items you will need to care for your new, formally wild, pet mouse:
- A large aquarium 10-20 gallon size
- Wood shavings for bedding
- Mouse food and treats
- Exercise wheel
- Water jug with a dropper tube
- A feeding bowl
What Can I Feed A Wild Mouse?
Mice are omnivorous so would do best if you could offer them grains, fruits, and seeds.
You can also feed fresh vegetables to your mouse as long as you cut them up into cubes.
Safe fruits and vegetables include peas, carrots, broccoli, bananas, and apples.
If you have the budget or are willing/able to invest in some feed, you could even buy mouse rodent pellets too.
You should avoid giving your mouse cabbage, onion, corn, chocolate, and junk food. You can also try to give your mouse sunflower seeds, strawberries, or nuts.
Other Considerations For Keeping A Wild Mouse
There are many reports of people who have taken in wild mouse.
Below, we will run through some of the common themes and comments from individuals who have tried; both successfully and unsuccessfully, take in a wild mouse.
Wild mice tend to be:
- Generally more sensitive and skittish,
- More prone to biting, even when handled with care and gently. With the risk of disease too, wearing gloves is a necessity when handling .
- More likely to attempt to escape.
- Hide where ever they can and will usually only come out when you are not present around. Interaction is limited.
- More scared of noises, and frighten easily.
- More prone to fighting with other mice that are placed in the cage alongside them.
- Harder to breed, since they are generally more stressed in your care to feel safe enough to procreate.
- Tend to smell worse than mice purchased from pet stores.
Wild mice can be kept as pets, but you should only attempt to do so under certain conditions.
You need to be especially careful with any rodent, as they are likely to carry diseases which can be transmitted to humans and be dangerous.
If you did decide to take one in, getting them inspected by a veterinarian is advised. This will help rule out any diseases, or to let you know if they are carrying any.
In this instance, letting them go is probably going to be best.
But, if your new wild mouse is found to be disease free, they can make lovely, affectionate companions. This is especially true if they are caught and tamed as younglings.
If you wanted to tame a young mouse before their eyes open, you would be the person they bond with upon opening them. This is why its considered the best time to try and house them.
Mice can be handled and touched, but you should be wearing thick gloves in the case of a wild mouse and you need to be very gentle as they can nip.
If you have small children, a wild mouse is not likely to be an appropriate pet. Getting one at the pet store, without the risks of diseases, is a far safer alternative.
Even then young children are not most suited to fragile mice. Older children, on the other hand, can better understand to be considerate when handling a mouse.
Mice can chew through many materials, so you must make sure that there are no holes in your mouse’s cage as they can easily squeeze through the smallest of holes and make their escape.
Mice are fun to observe and surprisingly intelligent.
So, if you have considered trying to catch a wild mouse, or have recently taken one in, consider the factors mentioned above to keep you, your family and your new pet safe.
Are you wondering what other wild animals you can keep as pets? Then my following guides may be of interest:
- Can You Keep A Wild Hedgehog As A Pet?
- Can You Keep A Wild Frog As A Pet?
- Can You Keep A Wild Rabbit As A Pet?
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.