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How Many Mice Should I Get?

By Cait McKeown

In all initial cases where you have free choice (and are not contemplating getting a companion for a mouse you already have) at least two - mice are social animals and it is very unnatural for them to live alone. Single mice are generally bored and lonely and can become miserable. This means that they do not make good pets, as they tend to spend more time sleeping or hiding in the nest box than mice kept in groups. With a single mouse you also miss out on the fun of watching the mice play together and groom each other. It isn’t really fair to mice to keep them alone if it can be avoided; if they liked solitude they wouldn't live in colonies in the wild.

Part of an adult doe colony gathered around their food bowl

Sometimes male mice who are very aggressive towards other males may have to be kept alone - see the section on keeping males together for more on this. However, male mice can nearly always live happily with their brothers if they are given a large cage. I do have one male who has to live alone because he will fight seriously with any other male he comes into contact with, and always has done since he was five weeks old or so. He is wonderfully friendly with people (and of course female mice!) but just will not accept other males. The only solution has been to give him toys and his own cage and make sure that he gets human attention. He does seem happy on his own but I still think it is a pity that he has to spend most of his time alone.

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