There was this wonderful post by @mochatheguineapig that inspired me to write about this topic. In that post they talked about guinea pigs. Definitely go check that post out. Some of it is the same with mice, but some is different. So I wanted to make a post for new mouse owners or people who consider getting pet mice. Because I think there are some misconceptions about mouse keeping.
I think one of the reasons for the idea that mice are cheap pets, is that you can get a mouse for quite cheap. If you want a dog, you’re most likely paying at least a few hundred euros for one, if not a thousand for one of specific breed. In comparison a mouse from a hobbyist breeder or a very cheap pet shop might cost you 5€. In Finland there has been conversation among breeders what the ideal price should be and most of them land between 10€ and 20€ per mouse. Pet shops that get their animals from a wholesale
overseas sell their mice for 20-30€ per mouse, even though their animals are usually unhealthy. So not only are the animals still relatively very cheap, the prize doesn’t even tell anything about that said animal. But to find a healthy and friendly mouse, you might have to go through the extra effort to find a good breeder. That can add transportation costs to the mouse’s price. I go more in detail into breeders and feeders in this post.
However, everything after that is going to cost you more. First you will need a terrarium or a cage. Now, there are cheap “do it yourself” options, but most mouse owners will still go for a manufactured one. For a new terrarium you will in most cases pay something around 100€. You also need stuff in it, some of which won’t last for the animal’s whole lifetime and you will have to replace later.
In my opinion the most expensive thing is the bedding. Mice are smelly compared to other small rodents (or rather their urine is), so you’ll want to keep their habitat clean. Also, don’t just use any bedding you can find. Get as dustless bedding as possible. You will have to pay more for it, but it will keep your animals healthier. Buying bedding in bigger bag sizes will usually save you money, but then you’ll need to get it with a car. (in most stores in Finland a 20l bag of aspen chips costs 7-9€ which I find crazy expensive in the long run) Food will cost you a bit too, but not nearly as much. Don’t get the over prized rainbow colored cereal in the pet store.
Then there’s the vet. Yes, even though mice live for 1-2 years, you have to get them to the vet when they get sick. The most common visit to the vet are parasites, because you can only get ivermectin from the vet. (if you get left overs of ivermectin, keep that stuff to use later!) Vets can also give medicine to respiratory, ear and eye infections. I do not recommend putting your mouse through a surgery if they get tumors. The best solution to serious illnesses and cancer is euthanasia. If your mouse is deadly ill, don’t make them suffer any longer than needed. It’s also a good idea to deworm your mice two times a year or before getting new mice into the group. You can have the vet do it, or research if there are options in the pharmacy. (note, the pharmacy staff most likely don’t know what and how to use on mice so asking good breeder or the vet is a good idea)
The vet I go to usually costs 20€ + any medication etc. I have my deadly ill mice put down with carbon dioxide at a local pet supply store by an experienced person. That costs 10€. All vets don’t take small rodents, so in some places you will have to pay more for one that does, be it a more expensive vet or just further away.
All of the above stuff is important and you shouldn’t skip on them just because they cost you more money. But there’s other stuff that you can save money on. :) Such as cheap toilet paper for nest material, card board boxes and toilet paper rolls for hides, gather branches from outside etc.