A House For Your Mouse (or rat)
Note: The number of animals appropriate to each cage will vary greatly by the age/sex/size/personality of the specific animals kept, and often a fewer number than indicated would be ideal. The rule of thumb with cages is “the bigger, the better.” Please use good judgment. The opinions expressed are of the author, and may differ from those of other fanciers.
by Nichole Royer
One of the most common questions asked by first-time rat and mouse owners is, “What should I keep them in.” If they ask five different people this question, they would most likely get five different answers. This can become very confusing.
The reason for those differences are simple. Each person has their own wants and needs. Space, cleaning facilities, type, age, and sex of animals as well as the amount of money each owner is willing to spend, all combine to make up an ideal cage for an individual.
I am going to cover the most common types of cages. The prices I am quoting
are those common within AFRMA and at my local pet shops. The number of
animals appropriate to each cage will vary greatly by the age/sex/size/personality
of the specific animals kept, and often a fewer number than indicated would be
ideal. Please use good judgment. The opinions expressed are of course mine,
and may differ from those of other fanciers.
Glass AquariumsGlass aquariums come in many sizes and styles. With the addition of an adequate wire mesh lid, they make very acceptable housing of both rats and mice. Aquariums can often be found inexpensively at garage sales or even on sale in pet stores. Old aquariums with metal frames are heavy, but many fanciers like them because the edges can get bumped without breaking the glass. They are also easy to replace broken panes of glass. You can replace the glass with Plexiglas for a lighter weight tank.
Pros: Inexpensive, draft free, animals are very visible, very easily cleaned and disinfected, prevents shavings from being scattered. These are the preferred cages for mice.
Cons: Can (and will over time) break, heavy and hard to handle, may be difficult or expensive to find a suitable lid, poor air circulation, condensation may form on inside, in warm weather they can be hot and stuffy.
Part 2 will cover plastic carriers, tube systems, and lab cages.
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