• Domestic mice, more commonly referred to as Fancy Mice have been artificially selected by breeders for a number of traits. Namely, these mice have been bred to be calm and friendly towards people. Mice are naturally curious animals and breeders have sought to enhance these characteristics over the years by mating the most intelligent and friendly individuals together.

• Though many pet stores sell mice, these mice are not usually the healthiest or most robust individuals. It may be difficult to locate a mouse breeder in your area but doing so will give you the best chance to have a mouse that will be happy and healthy for a long time to come. Your best bet to find a local mouse breeder would be to check your local paper or advertisements on bulletin boards at your nearest pet shop or animal care store.

Mice are social animals, and as such, should be kept in groups of two or more. A mouse that lives alone will likely become lethargic and spend more time hiding in his burrow than out playing. But owning two or more mice you get the full effect of being able to observe the mice play and socialize together as well as the benefit of having a mouse that is healthier and better adjusted. Though, we understand this is optimal and many owners will, for many reasons, only be able to keep a single mouse. These mice can still live full and happy lives if you take time to play with them frequently and keep their surroundings novel and interesting. But beware! Often times, mice will not get along with each other. Here are some ways you can minimize the chance of your mice not getting along.

Don't put males together. For many of us who don't want to breed mice or have to worry about the babies, this means putting only females together. Female mice are not nearly as aggressive as their macho counterparts and will generally get along quite nicely. If you want to go the extra mile, you can have a male mouse neutered by your vet and place him in with one or more females. And if you want to breed you mice then a single, unneutered male with get along swimmingly with a female.
Start males young. Male mice can get along. To increase your chances of multiple male mice behaving themselves in the same enclosure you can do a couple things. Try to introduce them to their home as young as possible (preferably before 5 weeks), this will get them used to each other and reduce territoriality. Getting brother mice from the same litter is an additional step that will reduce their aggressiveness toward each other. Keeping them in a large cage will reduce the need for them to fight over territory. If all else fails, you can have them neutered which often has the effect of chilling them out a bit. Even with all these precautions, it is still possible that your male mice (and occasionally even your female mice) will not get still beat up on each other. In this case you will have to keep them separated (or isolate the trouble maker if you have more than two). If you try to keep the separated mouse's habitat interesting and give him plenty of attention, he will still have a very fulfilling mouse-life.

Telling males from females. The person you buy your mice from will likely know what sex the mouse is, but no one is perfect and even experts make mistakes occasionally. The best way to determine a mouse's gender is to inspect the distance between the genitals and anus. This distance will be greater in males than in females. If you are buying your mice from a pet shop, be sure to check the sex of the mouse before you buy it. Pet stores are notorious for incorrectly sexing mice.

• Continue to the next section: Handling your mouse...