This article is from the WSSF 2011 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
Kids Q & A
By Karen Robbins
Meera Nadathur, age 11, Cincinnati, OH
Q My mice have recently been escaping through the gaps in the wires in the bars of various sides of their cage. I’m really concerned that they might escape and get lost in our house. I’ve already written to the company that made this cage, and I’ve started playing with them and giving them time to move around outside the cage every evening. Do you think they might want more space to run around, or are they hungry?
A Sorry to hear your cage is not working for your mice. Most wire cages on the market have bar spacing too wide to keep mice contained. Mice do best housed in solid cages such as aquariums/terrariums with sturdy wire mesh lids, jumbo size plastic carriers, or other solid sided/ventilation-in-lid cages. Some people make their own cages using plastic storage totes and cutting out part of the lid and attaching one-quarter inch wire hardware cloth in the opening. Since these are a softer plastic, most mice will chew the edges they can get to and will need repairs at some point.
If you keep food in the cage at all times, the mice would not be escaping because they are hungry. Since you let them out for playtime (are you keeping them in a contained area such as on a table or chair?), it doesn’t sound like they need more space. They are probably escaping just because they can. One fun activity you can make for your mice would be a playground on a table with tubes, houses, a wheel, ladders, and other fun things for them to play on while they have their play time each day. Some people will make a playground in a very large aquarium so the mice are protected from other pets.
Q Update: Thanks for the suggestions! I found a plastic box about seven inches deep, put some bedding in it and the rest of their things in it, covered it with the mesh lid of our old aquarium, and made that their new home. The problem is the water bottle holder. The handle props out of the box top and the lid does not fit evenly. The mice are climbing it and escaping through the small space in between. Do you have any suggestions about how to mount the water bottle so the lid closes entirely and the mice aren’t able to escape?
A Sounds like you either need a taller cage, shorter water bottle, or attach the water bottle outside the cage and drill a hole for the sipper tube to go inside. I would need to see a photo of what you have now to give you a better suggestion. What size is the aquarium whose lid you are using? Ten- to 15-gallon aquariums are great sizes for housing mice.